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Most Americans Continue to Support Moving Ahead With Health Care Reform Now Despite Town Hall Fights and Ad Campaigns
Date:8/19/2009

ight edge. Of those who saw an ad, 40 percent say the ad they saw was pro-reform, compared to 32 percent who said the ad they saw was anti-reform. Twenty-one percent said they had seen both kinds of ads.

Feelings About Reform Range Widely, and Seniors Are Most Likely to Feel Confused

As the summer's debate has heated up, much of the media discussion has focused on the anger displayed at some town hall meetings across the country. But the August survey finds that anger is hardly the only emotion about health reform. Asked which terms described their feelings about health reform plans being discussed in Washington, most said "hopeful" (63%), followed by "frustrated" (57%), "optimistic" (50%), "confused" (46%), "pessimistic" (42%) and "afraid" (41%).

Americans' feelings track strongly with whether they favor passing some sort of health care reform this year or whether they think the country cannot afford to take on the issue during a recession. Among those who want reform now, the dominant emotions are hope (82%) and optimism (70%), while among those opposed the chief sentiments are frustration (69%) and fear (62%).

One key demographic group stands out as being most likely to report that they feel "confused" by the debate in Washington: senior citizens. Overall, 62 percent of those over age 65 say they are confused about health care plans being considered by Congress, compared to 43 percent of those under age 65. It is this confusion that may be driving some of the anxiety evident among seniors when it comes to health care reform plans.

Much of the recent debate has focused on the concerns of seniors and a discussion of how Medicare would be affected by any reform proposal. Seniors are more likely to see Medicare as worse off than better off under health reform (37% vs. 20%), with 26 percent believing reform will not impact the program and another 17 percent un
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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