Poll: Rising Concern Over Cost, Quality Of Reformed Health System
A new poll shows rising concern about how health reform would affect the cost and quality of care.
"Americans are increasingly worried about the cost and quality of medical care that could result from President Obama's effort to revamp health care, but a majority still trust him more than Republicans to change the system, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows," USA Today reports. "The poll, which comes as Senate leaders are crafting a bill for a critical floor vote, finds that people who fear their costs would increase under the measure jumped 7 percentage points since last month, to 49%. There were similar increases among those who believe that both quality of health care and insurance company red tape will get worse if legislation passes" (Fritze, 10/21).
NPR has an analysis of recent polls, including one from ABC News and the Washington Post that found a clear majority of Americans support a public, government-operated health insurance option. But the results of such polls depend largely "on the language and framing of the questions. Supporters of the public option say it is merely an opportunity for those denied health insurance in the private market to obtain it from the government. In that guise, the public option seems to expand individual choice and freedom. That generally polls well."
NPR adds, "Rasmussen Reports, a polling operation favored by many conservatives, asks the question this way: Would you support a public option 'if it encouraged companies to drop private health insurance coverage for their workers?' Given that as a consequence, Rasmussen's poll shows the public opposed to the public option by 2 to 1." NPR concludes that "polls are a poor guide in such matters. Not that lawmakers are oblivious to public opinion -- to the contrary, they are typically obsessed with it. But the polls they care most about are not the national polls but the ones taken back in their states and districts. Polls back home can be vastly different from the national norm" (Elving, 10/20).