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Six in Ten Say Family Put Off Medical Care Due to Cost
Date:4/22/2009

what favor increasing income taxes for those in families making more than $250,000 per year, but there is much less support for increasing income taxes on all taxpayers (28%).

The poll indicates some support for taxing unhealthy behaviors, sometimes called "sin" taxes. When asked if they would favor or oppose increasing taxes on a package of items including soda, alcohol, junk food, and cigarettes to pay for health reform and provide coverage for the uninsured, six in ten (61%) favor such taxes while roughly four in ten (37%) are opposed. Asked about each of these items specifically, the poll suggests there is somewhat more support for increasing taxes on cigarettes, wine and beer than on snack foods or soda.

Another tax change that has been discussed by some policymakers as a financing option is changing the tax treatment of employer-based health insurance. Roughly half (52%) of the public is opposed to changing the law so workers with the most generous health benefits would pay taxes on the money their employer puts towards their coverage, while 41 percent are in favor. Those who currently have employer-sponsored health insurance are even more likely to oppose the proposal (62 percent oppose, 33 percent favor).

One other potential area of revenue discussed by policymakers for health reform comes from changes to the Medicare program. When asked about making changes to the program as a way to keep Medicare financially sound, reducing payments to managed care plans and other private insurers is "strongly" or "somewhat" supported by two-thirds (66%) of the public. Two-thirds (65%) also support reducing Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals.

Ideological Divide in Support for Public Plan

There has already been an ongoing debate about whether a public plan option should be included in health reform. Generally, two-thirds of the public (67%) "strongly" or "somew
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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