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Public Opinion on Health Reform Stable and Supportive as Debate Heats Up, But Moveable Too
Date:6/15/2009

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Congressional committees begin to hone in on the details of their health reform bills and debate intensifies, the latest Kaiser health tracking poll finds remarkable stability in public opinion on health reform.

A solid majority of the American people (61%) continue to believe that health reform is more important than ever given the country's economic problems); sizeable majorities support key elements of reform currently being debated such as employer mandates (69%), individual mandates (71%), and a public plan option (65-67% depending on wording). However, as we have seen in previous polls less than half of the public (41%) say they are willing to pay more for health reform, with a similar number supporting changing the tax treatment of employer based health insurance (40%), one of the major revenue raisers being discussed. Overall opinion remains highly moveable, with support for many elements of reform susceptible to arguments pro and con and often moving by as much as 40 percentage points when arguments are tested.

"It will be important for policymakers to move quickly once there is legislation on the table to get it on the president's desk so that a protracted debate and a Harry and Louise style ad war do not undermine the high level of public support we see today," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman.

The underlying problems that have motivated the public to care about health reform, such as skipping or delaying care due to costs, remain high and largely unchanged from previous surveys, with a majority (55%) of Americans reporting that they or another member of their household have put off some needed medical care because of cost in the past 12 months, such as skipping a recommended test or treatment or not filling a prescription for medication.

Some new findings emerged in the tracking poll as well.

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SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation
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