My research firm, Buzz Marketing Group, sent out a survey to gauge the reactions to health care reform from America's teens and young adults. This "Healthcare Blue Pulse" report was conducted via our Blue Room think tank. Most of the 1,026 respondents were between ages 20 and 30, and there were slightly more women than men who responded (57% to 43%).
The overall consensus was that a slight, yet solid, majority (57%) were pleased by the bill's passing. However, there was plenty of skepticism and confusion about the benefits to be derived from the legislation, with 48% of respondents stating that they did not feel that they would personally benefit from the health care overhaul. Still, more respondents feel that the overall health care system will improve (45%) compared with those who feel that it either will not improve (34%) or will stay the same (21%).
The personal comments from our respondents showed a serious interest in the workings of the health care system and the professional practice of medicine. A few people expressed legitimate concern for the stability of the medical profession and for how doctors will be affected by new policies. Young people are keenly aware that the current system is failing to provide equal coverage, but there is obvious uncertainty as to how we will pay for everything. We received some very knowledgeable responses on how the legislation will affect tax burdens and business practices of insurance companies, physicians, and the federal government.
Some of the responses were very polarized, ranging from an opinion that the legislation is "unconstitutional" and "will likely bankrupt many companies" to the more cheerful viewpoint that it "is a fairly good compromise". And, the tension in Washington did not go unnoticed, with a few respondents commenting on the need for more partisanship in the legislative process.
Clearly, today's young people are doing their research and staying up-to-date on important issues. We found that almost just as many people got their information about the health care legislation from the Internet and blogs (65%) as they did from television (69%). This is a very powerful statistic; it makes a CNN commentator just as influential as a blogger. As the battles for change wage on in Washington, the younger generations are turning more to new media sources to gather information and express their opinions. We can expect this shift in information control to continue as our policies continue to change.