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

ts these companies can earn (62%). These proposals garner support across party identification as well, with majorities of Democrats (71%), political independents (59%) and Republicans (55%) backing government limits on health insurance company profits.

Roughly half the public believes there is not enough government regulation of health care costs (51%) or the price of prescription drugs (52%). When examined by political identification, a majority of Democrats (61%) and political independents (52%) think there is not enough regulation of health care costs, while just under four in ten (37%) Republicans think similarly.

"We can see the framework of a winning package of health reform proposals from the public's perspective," said Robert J. Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. "But the reality is that there are some key distinct differences among partisans that will pose a challenge to policymakers," he added.

The Devil is in the Details ...and the Financing... and the Partisan Divide

One of the key questions of health care reform is how to pay for it. The survey suggests that, as has long been the case, the public is split down the middle in its willingness to sacrifice financially in order to cover more individuals: roughly half (49%) say they are not willing to pay higher insurance premiums or taxes, while a similar percentage (47%) say they are. There are big partisan differences here, with most Democrats (59%) saying they are willing to pay, most Republicans unwilling to pay (67%), and independents divided (49% willing, 47% unwilling).

When offered a list of potential taxes that could be used to pay for expanding health insurance for the uninsured, the only options with majority support were those likely to impact the fewest people, in particular, smokers and the wealthy. Roughly seven in ten (72
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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