Written by Grace Marie Turner - The Galen Institute
Galen Institute Releases Poll Showing Overwhelming Opposition to the Individual Mandate and Other Key Components of Congressional Health Reform Proposal.
Seventy-one Percent Are Concerned Their Health Insurance Will Change if Congress Passes Health Reform Legislation
ALEXANDRIA, VA. OCTOBER 19, 2009 - The Galen Institute today released new survey results showing overwhelming opposition to the individual mandate and other key components of health reform legislation Congress is considering.
"These findings illustrate strong opposition to fundamental aspects of the bills moving through Congress," said Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner. "People don't want to be forced to buy insurance they can't afford or that might not fit their needs, yet the proposals would slap a tax on them if they don't. And people overwhelmingly oppose reducing seniors' health benefits or raising taxes on the working and middle class in order to expand coverage to some of the uninsured, yet many in Congress continue to push exactly that."
"What the public does favor is a targeted approach to solving problems in our health sector, but not a complete Washington-style overhaul of one-sixth of our economy. Washington's failure to listen is causing great apprehension and concern among the public," added Turner.
The nationwide random survey of 510 adults was conducted October 8-11, 2009 and has a +/- 4.34 margin of error. International Communications Research (ICR), a non-partisan research firm based in Pennsylvania, conducted the survey.
More Than Seven in Ten Oppose the Individual Mandate
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they would oppose "a new law saying that everyone either would have to obtain private or public health insurance approved by the government or pay a tax of $750 or more every year." Only 21 percent said they would support the law. More than half (54 percent) of all respondents indicate a "strong" opposition to the individual mandate, including 58 percent of those 45-54 years of age and 58 percent of those 55 years and older.
More Than Two-Thirds Oppose Reducing Seniors' Health Benefits to Pay for Covering the Uninsured
More than two-thirds (68 percent) oppose reducing "some health insurance benefits for senior citizens in order to expand health insurance for some people who are uninsured," while 28 percent support the idea. Opposition is spread across political party lines as 86 percent of Republicans, 66 percent of Independents, and 59 percent of Democrats oppose this idea.
Opposition to Raising Taxes on the Working and Middle Class to Cover the Uninsured
Fifty-eight percent disagree, most of them "strongly" (44 percent), with the following statement: "I would support an increase in taxes on the working and middle class if it would help provide health insurance to more Americans." Only 39 percent support the position.
Seventy-one Percent Are Concerned Current Health Insurance Will Change if Congress Passes Health Reform
Seventy-one percent said they were concerned that their current health insurance would change if Congress passes health reform legislation. One-quarter (25 percent) said they were not concerned. Groups with the highest level of concern include: people 55 years and older (84 percent), those aged 45-54 (80 percent), Republicans (82 percent), and Independents (78 percent). Almost half (47 percent) of all respondents indicate they are "very concerned." Sixty-two percent of people aged 55 years and older are "very concerned," along with 61 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of those in the South, and 54 percent of Independents.
Support for a Targeted Approach to Addressing Health Care
Forty-nine percent support, "A targeted approach that addresses a few problems at a time." Forty-one percent support, "A comprehensive approach that makes significant changes to our current health care system."
Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization that she founded in 1995 to promote an informed debate over free-market ideas for health reform.
She has been instrumental in developing and promoting ideas for reform that transfer power over health care decisions to doctors and patients. She speaks and writes extensively about incentives to promote a more competitive, patient-centered marketplace in the health sector.
Grace-Marie is founder and facilitator of the Health Policy Consensus Group which serves as a forum for analysts from market-oriented think tanks around the country to analyze and develop policy recommendations. She is the editor of Empowering Health Care Consumers through Tax Reform and produces a widely-read weekly electronic newsletter, Health Policy Matters. She has been published in major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, she has appeared on ABC's 20/20 and on hundreds of radio and television programs in the U.S. She also received the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award for Promotion of Consumer Driven Health Care from Consumer Health World.
In the mid-1990s, Grace-Marie served as executive director of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform. For 12 years, she was president of Arnett & Co., a health policy analysis and communications firm. Her early career was in politics and journalism, where she received numerous awards for her writings on politics and economics.
The Galen Institute is a non-profit public policy research organization devoted exclusively to advancing free-market ideas in health policy. We work to promote a more informed public debate over ideas that support innovation, individual freedom, consumer choice, and competition in the health sector.
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