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

o 78 percent for and 17 percent against.

Public support and opposition to public plans can be similarly swayed. When the 67 percent who initially supported public plans are told that they could give the government an unfair advantage over private plans, overall support drops to roughly three in ten (32% favor, 59% oppose). When supporters were offered a different argument, that public plans would be the first step toward single-payer, government-run health care, overall support again eroded, but not as much (41% favor, 50% oppose).

As discussed earlier, there is initial majority (61%) support for "sin" taxes to finance health reform. While this idea hasn't been broadly debated publicly this year, some arguments for and against the approach were tested. Support for the approach declines overall (39% favor, 57% oppose) when supporters are told that the tax increase would hit low-income people the hardest. When initial opponents are told that the tax increase would raise money for reform and improve health by encouraging healthier habits, overall support increases moderately (70% favor, 27% oppose).

The survey cannot gauge in advance what arguments will be used in the health reform debate, who will make them and how well the arguments will be heard and absorbed by the public. And the fact that arguments are made does not make them accurate. What the simulations can tell us, however, are how possible arguments can alter potential public support.

Public Realizes Medicare Faces Challenges, But Most Uninterested in Personal Sacrifices

Roughly three-quarters (77%) of the public view Medicare as "very important" for the country, and just over half (53%) say the same for their own family. As might be expected, an even larger share of seniors (78%) and those living in households making less than $30,000 per year (68%) say that Medicare is very important to them personal
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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