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

th benefits of those with the most generous plans (compared to 63% among those insured by an employer).
  • Roughly two-thirds (67%) oppose across-the-board increases on income taxes.

  • On a few financing options there is some agreement. A narrow majority supports taxing soda (53%) and unhealthy snack foods (55%). Clear majorities support increased taxes on the wealthy (68%), cigarettes (68%) and alcoholic beverages (67%) as a way to pay for health reform.

    "With all the talk of inefficiencies in the system and achieving future savings, the public may confuse the potential for long-term savings with the need for short-term outlays and think that health care can be reformed for free. This could make policymakers' jobs tougher when the price tag for the legislation comes out," Altman said.

    Forging Bipartisan Agreement

    Another challenge will be forging bipartisan support. The poll found areas of large partisan disagreement. For example, three-quarters (74%) of Democrats and six in ten (59%) independents said given the country's serious economic problems health reform is more important than ever, while a majority (56%) of Republicans said we can't afford health reform right now. A slim majority of Democrats (53%) are willing to pay more for providing coverage, while smaller numbers of independents (38%) and Republicans (29%) say the same.

    There are some key areas of agreement across party identification lines. For example, a majority of Democrats (68%), Republicans (69%) and independents (75%) agreed insurance exchanges that guaranteed that "participating plans would not deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions or charge higher premiums to those who are in poorer health" would be helpful if one had to purchase health insurance on one's own. Previous tracking polls also found strong bipartisan agreement on measures to reform th
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    SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation
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