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Health provisions among public's top priorities for economic stimulus
Date:1/15/2009

dea 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 get 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 also involve negotiating the very different views of rank and file Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are significantly more likely to place a priority on action on health care, which ranks second on their priority agenda (61% say it is a top priority), compared to Republicans, who rank it eighth (23%). More than three-quarters (77%) of Democrats think health reform "is more important than ever" due to the economy, while six in ten (62%) Republicans believe the nation "cannot afford to take on health reform now." Democr
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Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-3952
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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