One Nation Divided Over Health-Care Reform

    NORWALK, Connecticut, USA (December 6, 2010) – Americans remain deeply divided over the nation’s new health-care reform package, with 40 percent of adults wanting to repeal all or most of the legislation while 31 percent favor keeping all or most of the reforms.

    Another 29 percent aren’t sure what should be done.

    Those are several key findings in a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll released today.

    The conflicting views reflect divisions in Congress, where Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives in January following election gains at the polls last month. Many GOP representatives have pledged to dismantle-or, at the very least, curtail-the controversial legislation signed into law by President Barack Obama in March.

    But the poll also uncovered an intriguing paradox: Many of those who want the health-reform law repealed favor keeping many of its key components.

    Specifically, nearly two-thirds of poll respondents like that the law prevents insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Sixty percent want to keep the provision of tax credits for small businesses that provide their employees with health insurance. While just over half support the law for allowing children to remain on their parents insurance until they are 26.

    The poll released today surveyed 2,019 adults online between November 19-23, 2010 by Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.

    Additional poll results indicate that many Americans want to repeal the bill not because they dislike the specifics, but because they feel it is an expensive expansion of an already big government, said Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive’s long-running public opinion poll. He continues, 81% believe it will it result in higher taxes, could lead to rationing of health care (74%), and reduce the quality of care they will receive (77%).

    Perhaps part of the explanation for this paradox was seen in a previous HealthDay/Harris Interactive poll which discovered that Americans have little knowledge of the specifics of the more than 2,500-page law. There’s a substantial gap in the general public understanding [but] the more informed people are, the more they understand, said Thomas R. Oliver, professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison.

    I think this suggests that as the public becomes more familiar with the law and how it will benefit them and their families, support will probably climb, said Sara Collins, vice president for Affordable Health Insurance at The Commonwealth Fund. She continues, There’s just a lag while immediate provisions are rolling out like young adult coverage.

    The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available. HealthDay’s news report is available here . Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive .

     

    TABLE 1

    FAVOR REPEALING OR KEEPING ALL OR MOST OF REFORM BILL

    And now some questions about the health care reform bill that was passed earlier this year. Which one of the following would you most like to see happen over the next year?

    Base: All Adults

    Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Total %

    %

    %

    %

    -Repeal all or most of bill (NET)

    – Repeal the whole bill

    – Repeal most of the bill but keep some of it

    40

    28

    12

    74

    57

    17

    13

    7

    6

    42

    25

    17

    -Keep all or most of bill (NET)

    – Repeal some parts of the bill but keep most of it

    – Keep the bill as it is

    – Keep the bill as it is and add more reforms

    31

    9

    6

    16

    8

    4

     

    3

    54

    13

    11

    30

    33

    11

    6

    17

    -Not Sure

    29

    18

    33

    25

    Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

     

    TABLE 2

    REASONS WHY PEOPLE WANT TO REPEAL THE BILL

    Do you want to repeal the bill because you believe that…?

    Base: Those Who Want to Repeal All or Some of the Bill

    Want to repeal bill because: —

    Total

    Those Who Want to Repeal the Whole Bill

    %

    %

    It is a government takeover of the health care system.

    82

    94

    It is too expensive.

    81

    92

    It will mean higher taxes.

    81

    95

    It is an expansion of big government.

    80

    92

    It will reduce the quality of your or your family’s health care.

    77

    89

    It will lead to rationing of health care.

    74

    88

    It is a form of socialism.

    71

    86

     

    TABLE 3

    WHICH BITS OF BILL PEOPLE WANT TO KEEP OR REPEAL

    Would you like to keep or to repeal each of the following things, all of which are

    part of the health care reform bill now?

    Base: All Adults

    Keep

    Repeal

    Not Sure

    Percentage of Those Who Want to Repeal Whole Bill Who Want to Keep Each Item

    It prevents insurers from denying coverage to people because they are or have been sick.

    %

    64

    16

    20

    44

    It provides tax credits to small businesses to help pay for their employees’ insurance.

    %

    60

    17

    23

    38

    It allows children to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26.

    %

    55

    24

    21

    31

    It will limit insurance companies’ profit margins.

    %

    53

    21

    27

    29

    New insurance exchanges will be set up where people can shop for insurance.

    %

    51

    17

    32

    29

    It requires all employers with 50 or more employees to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty.

    %

    48

    29

    23

    22

    Research will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of different treatments.

    %

    44

    25

    31

    21

    An annual fee to be paid by drug companies.

    %

    41

    28

    31

    19

    It will increase the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid.

    %

    37

    31

    32

    12

    A new Independent Payment Advisory Board to limit the growth of Medicare spending.

    %

    32

    29

    39

    16

    It requires people who don’t have insurance to buy it or pay a penalty.

    %

    19

    57

    25

    6

    Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

    Methodology

    This survey was conducted online within the United States November 19 to 23, 2010 among 2,019 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    Full data available at www.harrisinteractive.com

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    About HealthDay
    HealthDay, a division of Scout News LLC, is a leading producer and syndicator of evidence-based health news for consumers and physicians and is the largest syndicator of that news to Internet sites. Its consumer health news service ( www.healthday.com ) appears on more than 5,000 Web sites such as Yahoo!, MSN, iVillage, US News & World Report, hundreds of hospital and hospital group Web sites, as well as print publication Web sites across the country. HealthDay also produces Physician’s Briefing ( www.physiciansbriefing.com ), a news service for physicians, nurses and other medical professionals updated twice daily providing 15 articles a day across 27 medical specialties. HealthDay also provides custom content for major health portals. The newest addition to the HealthDay portfolio is HealthDay TV — a 90-second news broadcast of essential health information that appears on several major media Web sites, U.S. government Web sites and other health information sites.

    About Harris Interactive
    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com .

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