New Poll: As Vote Approaches, Americans Divided On Legislation

As House Democratic leaders scramble to come up with the votes needed to pass their health overhaul package Sunday, Americans remain divided over the legislation, with 46 percent supporting the proposals, 42 percent opposing them and 12 percent unsure, according to a new poll.

The March tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation also showed that 42 percent of Americans believe the congressional debate has gone on long enough and that it’s time for a vote, while 36 percent say lawmakers should “go back to the drawing board” and start over on health legislation. Twenty percent want the topic dropped altogether.

According to the poll, strong opponents of the legislation continue to outnumber strong supporters, but not by as much as they did earlier this year. That reflects a pickup of support among rank-and-file Democrats.

The poll indicates that many people continue to struggle with health costs. Fifty-two percent of Americans say the amount they pay for their family’s health care and coverage has gone up over the past year. Three in 10 Americans say their households have had problems paying for medical bills over the past year, and 18% say that cost increases have caused them or their employers to switch to less comprehensive plans over the past year.

Six in 10 Americans have heard little or nothing about budget reconciliation, the process by which Democratic leaders hope to pass their legislation. A large majority of both parties as well as independents say the way the health care debate has occurred has convinced them that the policy making process in Washington is “broken.”

The tracking poll was conducted March 10 though March 15 among a national representative random sample of 1,208 adults. The margin of sample error for the total sample is plus or minus three precentage points, though it may be higher for results based on subgroups.

(KHN is a part of the foundation.)

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