A new Harris poll shows just how polarized and confused Americans are about the need and desire for reforms in health care.
Conducted Feb. 3-5 of 2,075 adults, it finds that nearly 40 percent say it would be a good thing if legislation proposed by President Barack Obama and the Democrats never materialized.
One quarter say they are uncertain if reform would be good or bad for the country.
"The public is clearly split, with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other, as to how hard the president should push for health care reform," said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll.
"The president's stated intention to push ahead is likely to be popular with most Democrats, but will probably remain so only if he and Congress can deliver significant legislation. Failure to do so could be very damaging. Essentially what they're saying is we want reform but we don't trust or like what we're seeing now," he says.
Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds Americans are more concerned about jobs and the economy than health care. Regardless of their party affiliation, 8 out of 10 say reducing unemployment and creating new jobs are top priorities for the near future.
Among Democrats, health reform came in at 59 percent. Among Republicans, preventing another terrorist attack was a priority (64 percent).
The fear of change may be part of the reason for the reluctance. People with health insurance, offered by their employer, don’t want change. Then there is the question of how to pay for reforms, whose taxes to raise, and which benefits will have to be cut to deliver health care to all.
Other key findings –
- 42 percent of all adults, equal Republican and Democrats and independents say it’s important to control out-of-pocket health-care costs and health insurance expenses
- 61 percent of Republicans say they don’t want to see an increase in taxes
- 21 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Independents say they don’t want to see an increase in taxes
Among Democrats, 52 percent say ensuring many more people have health insurance coverage is a top priority compared to 30 percent of Independents and 16 percent of Republicans.
President Obama has called for a bipartisan summit to be televised on February 25 on health care. Both parties have their eyes on a favorable positioning for the November elections, making true bipartisanship unlikely, reports US News.
With about 46 million Americans uninsured, there is general agreement that reforms that offer coverage to all Americans even those with pre-existing conditions, is essential to bringing down costs. That requires reforms within the insurance industry, reducing inefficiencies in medical delivery, and increasing preventive medicine.
Another Harris Poll on the best and worst presidents finds that of 2,575 Americans polled, 25 percent say Ronald Reagan was the best president with Franklin Delano Roosevelt coming in second at 22 percent. Three in 10 Americans say George W. Bush is the worst president since WW II at 31 percent, while 15 percent say it is Barack Obama. #