Is the American dream dead? Many Americans believe so. According to a New York Times poll, only 64 percent of respondents said they still believed in the American dream, the lowest rate in nearly two decades.
Pessimism is widespread and is even more potent now than it was during the depths of the financial crisis — in 2009, 72 percent of Americans still believed hard work would lead to big payoffs, according to the NYT.
The timing of the poll's results is interesting because economists say the economy is at its highest point since the recession. Furthermore, the nation added 321,000 jobs last month and average hourly earnings have increased much more than expected. That, combined with lower oil prices, puts more money in the wallets of average Americans, according to the NYT.
So, why the sad face? Is the Gatsbian notion of the American dream — the promise that through hard work, anyone can transcend the boundaries of inequality and get rich — merely a romantic vestige of the past, a fallacy? Is the American dream hopeless? Is the green light simply out of reach?
Perhaps. Or, maybe Americans have shifted their idea of who's to blame for their inability to attain the dream. According to the NYT's poll, the majority of respondents, 54 percent, said they were more concerned that over-regulation in Washington would limit economic growth than they were about inequality.
Sounds familiar. One of the biggest complaints in healthcare is the burdensome, often excessive regulatory demands of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including the regulations of meaningful use and the two-midnight rule, as well as preparing for the implementation of ICD-10, among others.
The law is further exacerbated by Congress' inability to cooperate across the partisan divide, most recently demonstrated by the lawsuit House Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), filed against the Obama administration over unilateral actions he took on the healthcare law regarding the employer mandate and subsidy payments to insurance companies.
The belief that politics and regulations play too heavy a hand in healthcare — and more importantly, the seeming inability to effectively adhere to the many demands of these regulations — has led to increased frustration across the industry. According to the biennial "Survey of American Physicians" by Physicians Foundation and Merritt Hawkins, 46 percent of physicians would give the PPACA a failing grade, while only 25 percent would give it an A or a B. One half of respondents believe implementing ICD-10 will cause "severe administrative problems" in their practices, and three-fourths believe it will "unnecessarily complicate coding."