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Majority of Public Maintains Support for Addressing Health Care Reform Now
Date:7/22/2009

Evidence That Criticisms Are Registering As Debate Intensifies

MENLO PARK, Calif., July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Congress works through specific health reform proposals, the July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds a majority of the public remains supportive of taking action on health reform now, though there is some softening of support as criticisms and doubts seem to be registering.

As has been the case over the past ten months, a majority of the American people (56%) continue to believe that health reform is more important than ever despite the country's economic problems, and the public believes by a two to one margin (51% versus 23%) that the country will be better rather than worse off if Congress and the president enact health reform. More Americans think they and their family will be better off (39%) than worse off (21%) if legislation passes, with roughly a third (32%) believing it will make no difference for them or their family.

But with health reform moving from the abstract to concrete legislative proposals, criticisms made during the policy debate appear to be having an impact on the public and several indicators have softened somewhat from earlier this year. A larger share of the public is worried that Congress and the president will pass a bill that's bad for their family (54%) than are worried that health care reform will not happen this year (39%). While a majority of the public favors health care reform now, the share that is supportive is down five percentage points since June (from 61% to 56%). The proportion who say passage of health care reform will make things worse for their own family, although relatively small, has doubled since February (from 11% to 21%), as has the proportion who say the country would be worse off if health care reform passed (from 12% to 23%). Specific proposals to cover the uninsured, while stil
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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