Ensuring that all Americans have health insurance has fallen below other more pressing health reform issues such as tax credits for small business, health insurance exchanges, and front-burner health insurance regulations like guaranteed issue and covering dependents to age 25.
About the same proportion, 56% and 55%, support covering at least 31 million uninsured and no federal money going toward abortion, respectively.
A majority of Americans does not support the individual mandate and penalty for individuals not buying health insurance continues. Only 22% of Americans would be more likely to support health reform with this stipulation.
Divided Americans may be on certain key elements of health reform; however, KFF observed that when health reform specifics were explained to survey respondents, many minds changed on issues as far-reaching as tax credits for small business, and closing the Medicare Part D “donut hole” for prescription drugs for seniors.
Nonetheless, chasms continue between Republicans and Democrats, the latter of whom tend to be more supportive of more health reform elements.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: “Awareness matters,” KFF notes in this round of the Tracking Poll. Too many surveys gauging Americans’ support for health reform gloss over the details and, in this issue, the details greatly matter.
When KFF surveyors dove into details on over 20 health reform elements, clarity moved naysayers from negative to more positive for 17 of 27 elements. 2 moved a majority to be more negative: the individual mandate and the $871 billion-over-10-year price tag.
The poll demonstrates that there is still some support for health reform, but in a more targeted approach. The most salient and desirable elements are tax credits, no federal money for abortion or illegal immigrants, a health insurance exchange, guaranteed issue, dependent coverage through 25 years of age, closing the donut hole, increase income taxes on the wealthy, and expanding Medicaid.
And perhaps most telling of all: 59% of opponents would be more likely to support reform if policy won’t change most peoples’ existing arrangements.