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

%) strongly or somewhat favor increasing the cigarette tax, increasing taxes for people from families earning more than $250,000 per year (70%), or repealing current income tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 per year (61%).

The survey also suggests that, as in the past, early support for a number of reform proposals could fade in the face of arguments that opponents might raise in a public debate. For example, seven in ten Americans (71%) say they favor the idea of employer mandates. But when given the argument often made by critics that this may cause some employers to lay off some workers, support falls dramatically, to just under three in ten (29%). The same pattern holds on the topic of individual mandates. Roughly two in three (67%) favor requiring all Americans to have health insurance with help for those who could not afford it. When given the criticism that some people may be required to buy health insurance they find too expensive or do not want, support falls to two in ten (19%).

Americans seem most concerned that any health care plan not raise their costs or involve government limiting or dictating their choices. According to the survey, nearly two-thirds (65%) say they would be less likely to support a plan that would get the government too involved in personal health care decisions, more than six in ten (61%) would be less likely to support a plan that increases people's insurance premiums or out-of-pocket costs, and more than half (56%) would be less supportive of a plan that limits an individual's choice in doctors.

"As we have learned from past debates, public support looms for health reform largest at the beginning of the debate, but it's relatively easy to chip away at that support with arguments about tradeoffs," said Mollyann Brodie, Kaiser vice president and director for Public Opinion and Survey Research.

Any debate over health reform options will als
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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