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Poll finds Americans split by political party over views on socialized medicine
Date:2/14/2008

alized medicine is a system where the government tells doctors what to do. Strong majorities believe that it means that the government makes sure everyone has health insurance (79%) and the government pays most of the cost of health care (73%).

A majority of those surveyed feel that the American health care system already has elements that could be described as socialized medicine. Sixty percent believe that Medicare is socialized medicine, whereas about half (47%) feel that the veterans health care system is socialized medicine.

A majority of Americans feel that the front-runners for the Democratic nomination would propose changes that would create a socialized medical system. However, there is a difference between the two remaining Democratic candidates. Sixty-nine percent think that Hillary Clinton would propose a socialized medical system compared to 57% for Barack Obama. Far fewer Americans feel the Republicans would propose a socialized medical system Mike Huckabee (19%) and John McCain (15%).

Compared to seniors (ages 65+), younger adults (ages18-34) are more likely to view socialized medicine positively (55% vs. 30%). Younger adults are also more likely than seniors to view Medicare as socialized medicine (67% vs. 47%). The uninsured do not view socialized medicine as negatively as those who have health insurance. Only 19 percent of the uninsured think that a socialized medicine system would be worse than our current system while 57 percent think it would better. Those who currently have health insurance are divided on whether socialized medicine would be better (44%) or worse (41%).

"No doubt some Republicans will continue to use the words 'socialized medicine' to attack Democratic health care proposals before and after this November's elections, but these attacks are unlikely to do much damage, says Humphrey Taylor, Chairman of The Harris Poll. Only just over one third of adults think that socialized medicine would be
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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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