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Health Provisions Among Public's Top Priorities For Economic Stimulus
Date:1/15/2009

ldren's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), half (51%) of the public favors increasing spending on SCHIP, while four in ten (39%) would maintain current program funding.

"The economic crisis has created an unprecedented window of opportunity for health reform. But we are in the early happy talk stage on health reform, and the window could close if policymakers cannot move fairly quickly to take advantage of the opportunity they have," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

Large majorities of Americans say coverage expansion, cost reduction and delivery system change are all important pieces of health care reform. But when asked to choose which of these sometimes competing goals is most important, affordability tops the priority list, named by four in ten (39%). Slightly fewer - three in ten (30%) - choose expanding coverage and roughly two in ten (18%) pick improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of the health care delivery system.

Clear and Bipartisan Support for Regulation

A key health reform idea that draws public support and stands out in the support it gets across the political spectrum is the idea of more consumer protections and regulation of health insurance.

Almost eight in ten Americans (78%) favor requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone who applies, even if they have a pre-existing condition. This support remains high (72%) even when the public is given the argument often made that such a change may raise health insurance costs for healthier people even as it lowers them for the less healthy. Support is bipartisan: a clear majority of Democrats (77%), political independents (78%) and Republicans (58%) support eliminating exclusions for preexisting conditions.

Similarly, over six in ten Americans strongly or somewhat favor limiting the administrative expenses health insurance companies can claim (65%) and even the profi
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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