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Poll Shows Strong Support for Obama Health Care Reforms
Date:2/11/2009

Majorities approve of such initiatives as Medicare-negotiated drug pricing or a 'national health insurance exchange'

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A broad swath of Americans support President Barack Obama's anticipated overhaul of the U.S. health care system, especially such key proposed elements as government negotiation with drug companies to lower drug prices, or some form of a national health insurance exchange, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

In fact, half of the 2,491 adults surveyed in the nationwide poll said they either "strongly" or "somewhat" supported the president's plan to overhaul health care. Twenty-nine percent said they were still not sure about the plan, while 20 percent expressed opposition to the Obama proposals.

While Obama's exact blueprint has not been laid out, he has indicated, both from the Oval Office and on the campaign trail, that the nation's health care system needs to better serve more people at a lesser cost.

Support for certain reforms appeared especially high in the poll. For example, 78 percent of those polled said that allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies was a "good idea." And, six out of 10 respondents were also positive about the formation of a "national health insurance exchange" that would allow both employers and individuals to choose from a much wider pool of private plans. Both of these initiatives were key parts of the Obama health care policy platform during the campaign.

Humphrey Taylor, chairman of the Harris Poll, said he was "not surprised" by the results of the poll, which was conducted online from Jan. 27-29.

"There's an overwhelming desire to fundamentally change the system, not only from the public but also from doctors, employers, insurers, everybody," he said. "Of course, different people want to see different things. But very few people think that the system
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