The failure of health care reform to resonate with voters prompted the American Association of Health Plans to indulge in a bit of gloating — and to send a message to legislators with designs of taking up the health care issue again next year. Six days after the election, AAHP released a study suggesting that Americans are satisfied with their health care coverage, and are suspicious of politicians who say they favor greater health care regulation.
The poll of people who voted, conducted for AAHP by Q.W. Ayres & Associates, found that 86 percent of voters enrolled in managed care plans are satisfied with their coverage; 68 percent thought that politicians used managed care issues for political gain, and less than 1 percent spontaneously mentioned managed care or health insurance as the most important factor determining their votes for the U.S. House.
Meanwhile, Aetna did an election-day raspberry at HMO bashers, placing full-page ads in 20 newspapers urging the public to get off of managed care's back. Aetna Chairman Richard Huber explained that HMO bashing "seems to be the favorite indoor sport of the country." The ad featured signatures of Aetna employees who asked for an end to "unjustified attacks" on the industry.