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The research conducted here is built on a foundation of research by others that centers upon three points I synthesized to justify the soundness of this research. Firstly, research which explored the ways in which opinion about healthcare is formed and whether opinions about healthcare policy are changeable or not based on new information. Secondly, research that explored the ways in which Americans are dissatisfied with the state of health care in the United States. Lastly, research which explored the ways in which Americans may already support key aspects of Single Payer systems of health care or would be likely to support this kind of health care model if they were better informed about it.
One source of information people learn about health care policy from is the news and media Mutz, & Soss, (1997),which according to (Shanahan, Mcbeth, & Hathaway , 2011), plays an important role in shaping the way people feel about certain policy goals or programs. The research in Shanahan et al. (2011), explores media policy narratives which were defined as, “strategically constructed “Stories”, that contain predictable elements and strategies whose aim is to influence public opinion toward support for a particular policy preference”. According to the framework in this study, this form of information is meant to influence public opinion by either strengthening approval or by, “Converting the opinions of audiences harboring divergent opinions”. This study used a quasi-experimental design consisting of pretesting and post-testing the opinions. The study included 194 subjects, who were introduced to one of 2 policy narratives meant to sway opinion. The study ultimately found the narratives to have a significant effect on reaffirming existing supportive opinions and also the ability to change opinion.
In addition to research about the kind of and ways in which information affects opinion about health care, a data analysis of the Canadian Election survey Blidook, K. (2008) , explored the ways in which framing of news stories affects public opinion. In this study framing is explored as the way in which news stories are told, “Which may lead to a particular interpretation of the state of the issue”. This analysis began by exploring data and previous research which concluded that the majority of news stories are framed negatively especially News stories about health care and were oftentimes sensationalized or framed as a crisis. This happened regardless of the actual veracity of the problem Blidook, (2008). With these assumptions in mind, the researchers measured media participant’s media consumption alongside their worry about health care policy. Ultimately, the positive correlation between the two factors indicated that like policy narratives, framing also affects public opinion.
In addition to the research I have previously explored about how different kinds of information affects public opinion , a study by (Gross, Stark, Krosnick, Pasek, Sood, Tompson, & Junius, 2012), examined the public's understanding of the affordable care act and key elements of this law, as well as how this correlated to participants support for it. The data in this research came from 2 cross sectional national surveys conducted in 2010 and 2012 via the internet. The conclusions from this study show that while most people favored the elements of the Affordable Care act, many did not know that they were part of the plan. In addition to this, findings from this study showed that understanding of the ACA varied with party identification and that people’s opposition to the bill was sometimes due to opposition to elements of the ACA that were not actually part of the program. For example, only 17% of respondents could say with certainty that death panels were not part of the law. Moreover, this study concluded that, “if education efforts were to correct public misunderstanding of the bill, public favorability might increase considerably”, which exemplifies that more accurate information could change people's perception about health care policy.
Along with research that aims to explore the effects of different kinds of information on public opinion, it is also important to understand what people's attitudes and opinions about health care are and what kinds of programs and policies they would be supportive of if people better understood them. One example of this kind of research is a meta-analysis of polling data by (Blendon, Brodie, Benson, Altman, & Buhr, 2006), from over 25 years about health care by Harvard University and the Kaiser Family Foundation. This research found Americans to be divided on how to change the American health care system and that they held many conflicting beliefs about the health care and health care reform. Despite this, throughout the 25 years study, Americans high levels of dissatisfaction with the way healthcare was carried out have remained stable. Findings from this study also show that while many Americans did not support for a Medicare for All single payer system, other questions on the survey indicate that they may not have understood what it is. Moreover, participants in this study who were recipients of Medicare of Medicaid (and therefore are in a unique position provide understanding of the kind of satisfaction a single payer system could provide, as it is the closest thing to a single payer system of healthcare in the United States), reported the highest levels satisfaction with their healthcare of any groups studied in this research.
Americans opinions about healthcare are further explored in a more recent study by (Bialik, 2017). This research conducted through a Pew Research center poll conducted January 4-9, 2017, of a national sample of 1,502 adults using parameters from the Decennial Census to ensure the sample was representative of the US population. This poll found 60% of Americans say the government should be responsible for ensuring health care coverage for all Americans, and that 43% of Americans supported a single payer form of health care system. Moreover , another pole Newport (2016), conducted between May 6-8 in 2016 Via the Gallup U.S. Daily Survey also explored the level to which people may be poised to support a single payer system with accurate information. This study of 1,549 adults was weighted to represent the U.S. Population during the 2016 presidential primary season which was a unique time in the United States. This is because the idea of a Single Payer healthcare system was being explored and explained to the American public. Participants in this study were, “Presented with three separate scenarios for the future of the Affordable Care Act”, which ultimately found the majority of participants favor a federally funded healthcare system. When presented with these three scenarios, 58% of the participants favored the “idea of replacing the law with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans. At the same time, Americans are split on the idea of maintaining the ACA as it was, with 48% in favor and 49% opposed. The slight majority, 51%, favored repealing the act”.
This research when synthesized together suggests a better understanding and accurate information about of health care policy, programs, or systems would cause public opinion to shift toward support for single payer systems of health care. In addition to this, it points to ways in which people may be misled by a member of forces which influences opinion and attitudes.