Survey Shows Americans Wary About Health Care Reform

Americans are unsure that a health care reform bill introduced this week is the solution to problems with the United States health care system, according to a poll created and commissioned by a public policy expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"By a 50-42 margin, Americans oppose the House of Representatives' bill introduced July 14," said S. Ward Casscells, M.D., vice president of external affairs and public policy and the John Edward Tyson Distinguished Professor in Cardiology at the UT Health Science Center at Houston. "This bill would call for most employers to sponsor health plans and would also create a Medicare-like plan for those under 65 who have no other health plan. The increased costs would be covered by increasing income taxes on individuals making more than $280,000 and families making more than $350,000."

According to the survey, which was conducted by Zogby International, most Americans are unwilling to pay higher taxes and instead favor more innovative approaches that would use the savings from improving care and curtailing waste and fraud to fund health care for the uninsured.

The results of the survey were released during a National Press Club Newsmaker conference July 15 in Washington, D.C.

Among the survey's key findings, 84 percent of those who are currently insured are satisfied with their health care. For those without insurance, only 46 percent had some level of satisfaction with their health care. Almost 80 percent agreed that rising health care costs are hurting American businesses. An expanded role for government in health care is opposed by 48 percent of Americans, while 44 percent support it. Forty-six percent of respondents agreed that a public plan is needed to "keep insurance companies honest."

Most believe that people with pre-existing conditions should be eligible for health insurance. They also endorse the idea of higher premiums for those who smoke and/or refuse vaccines and cancer screening.

"These survey results establish the clearest and most up-to-date understanding of how Americans as a whole feel about their health, health care, and, most importantly, the future of health care in America and the legislative options in front of them," Casscells said.

The online survey of 3,862 adults nationwide was conducted June 18-22, 2009, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.6 percentage points. The results are available at www.zogby.com/news/wf-healthcarereform.pdf and www.zogby.com/news/x-healthcarereform.pdf.

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