53% of Americans believe that health reform is more important than ever to take on at this moment in U.S. history — a percentage that has eroded from a majority of 62% in October 2008 (pre-Presidential election). At the same time, those Americans who say that we can’t afford to take on health reform right now grew from 34% to 42% between October ’08 and August ’09.

According to the August 2009 Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), the decline in support for health reform comes from “all parts of hte political spectrum,” with Independents’ support fairly evenly split 46 pro/49 con versus 54/42 last month.

Democrats are firmly pro-reform, with 71% of them supporting reform of the U.S. health system.

The most important goals of health reform across all political ideologies would be insurance reform — “protecting consumers in the health insurance market by requiring companies to cover everyone and stopping them from dropping people or increasing their rates when they become sick,” based on the KFF survey question. Second priority: address preventive health.

Among Americans who want health reform “now,” 82% say they’re hopeful, and 70%, “optimistic.”

People who want to delay health reform are less positive in their feelings about reform: 69% say they’re “frustrated,” and 62% are “afraid,” according to poll.
Importantly, seniors are less convinced reform will benefit them.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:
The communications strategy implemented by the detractors of health reform is working well. The increase in the proportion of Americans who believe they’d be worse off with a reformed health system tripled since February 2009 — in a mere six months.

It’s telling that 45% of Americans saw an ad having to do with changes in the health system in the “past seven days” in the August 2009, compared with 21% in June ’09 and 31% in July ’09.