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Recent Survey Shows Majority of Americans Fearful That Health Care Reform Will Bring Higher Costs

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Poll Finds Americans Wary of Health Care ReformAs the Senate continues to wrestle with the health care reform bill, a Washington Post-ABC News poll* shows that the American public is growing wary of legislation intended to overhaul the health care system.

While a small majority of Americans still believe that government action is needed to curb health care costs and expand coverage to the millions of uninsured, enthusiasm is waning for the comprehensive changes under consideration.  According to the Washington Post article, the poll finds the public “generally fearful that a revamped system would bring higher costs while worsening the quality of their care.”

Poll findings indicate that:

  • 51 percent say they oppose the proposed changes to the system, while 44 percent approve
  • 53 percent see higher costs for themselves if the proposed changes go into effect
  • 55 percent say the overall cost of the national health-care system would go up more sharply under the new system
  • 37 percent say the quality of their care would be better under a new system
  • 50 percent see the current system as better than the proposed system
  • 67 percent say the proposed health care reforms would add to the federal deficit

Interestingly, even the uninsured are divided on the question of whether their care would improve if the system were overhauled.  And on the issue of whether and how to expand coverage to the uninsured, 36 percent of all respondents favor a government plan to compete with private insurers, 30 percent prefer private plans coordinated by the government and 30 percent want the system to remain intact.

The findings seem to highlight the challenges that President Obama faces as he and his party push to enact health care reform despite the American public’s divided sentiments.

*The poll was conducted by conventional and cellular telephone among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. The margin of sampling error for the full survey is plus or minus three percentage points.

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