New Poll: Majority Supports Government-Run Health Option
July 1, 2009, 10:04 a.m.
By David M. Drucker
Roll Call Staff
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday gauging registered voters’ views of health care reform underscores the political complexity of the issue, with the results offering ammunition to both the supporters and opponents of President Barack Obama’s No. 1 legislative priority.
The national poll of 3,063 registered voters showed that 69 percent believe Americans should have the option of purchasing government-run health insurance. But only 28 percent of those polled said they would take advantage of government-run insurance, a number that could suggest a lack of confidence in Washington’s ability to administer coverage.
The survey was conducted June 23-29 and has a 1.8-point margin of error.
The poll also showed that 72 percent of respondents would not pay more than $500 annually to finance a health care overhaul. Only 15 percent said they would be willing to pay between$500 and $1,000 annually in taxes to finance reform that lowers costs and ensures that all Americans have coverage.
“American voters want their fellow countrymen to have the option of a public plan, but don’t want a public plan for themselves because they are satisfied personally with their health care,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a prepared statement. “That presents a challenge to those who want Americans to pay more to reform the system.”
Meanwhile, the poll’s respondents said they trust Obama more than Congressional Republicans to take on the issue, with 53 percent favoring Obama to 33 percent preferring Republicans.
By a showing of 52 percent to 42 percent, respondents agreed with a central argument that Obama has used to sell the idea of a government-run insurance option, saying they believe a public plan will “keep private insurance companies honest.”
However, by a response of 58 percent to 32 percent, respondents said that government-run health care generally would be a “bad thing.” The poll also found tepid support for mandating that everyone acquire health insurance, with respondents rejecting that idea 51 percent to 44 percent.
Also Wednesday, a separate CNN poll found that a narrow majority of those surveyed, 51 percent to 45 percent, support Obama’s plans for health care reform.