Fueled by President Clinton's determination to reform health care, there has been a windfall of research to understand the needs and desires of the public and the many providers and purveyors of health services. Two towering hurdles that researchers must clear in conducting these studies are: translating complicated health coverage-related concepts and jargon into common language; and adopting measurements that can determine the public's priorities among the many important coverage and service components of health plans.While the health reform debate has raged, Fact Finders Inc., a Delmar, N.Y. research firm, has been conducting research which tracks the public's experiences with health care services and priorities in health care reform. This article will focus on a technique used in the 1994 American Values and Expectations for Health Care Reform Survey, the latest of the annual surveys which the Novalis Corporation has sponsored to measure the needs and preferences of the public regarding any health plan that emerges from health care reform. These public opinion studies, conducted in January of 1992, 1993 and 1994, survey by telephone a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults.In conducting these annual tracking surveys, Fact Finders has gauged public opinion by measuring reaction to underlying precepts of health plans rather than actual initiatives and their components. The challenge of developing an approach to measure receptivity to managed care is an example of the difficulty inherent in measuring public attitudes toward complicated health care initiatives. Measuring receptivity to managed care, a central operational tenet of the Clinton Health Security Act, was extremely difficult in 1993 when 75% of the U.S. population had never heard the term. Almost one-third of those who had not heard the term were actually having their care managed, as evidenced by their report that their health plans required them to c...