Emily Swanson | January 22, 2010
The January Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, conducted before the Massachusetts Senate vote, finds opinion is divided when it comes to the hotly debated legislation, with 42 percent supporting the proposals in the Congress, 41 percent opposing them and 16 percent withholding judgment. However, a different and more positive picture emerged when we examined the public's awareness of, and reactions to, major provisions included in the bills. Majorities reported feeling more favorable toward the proposed legislation after learning about many of the key elements, with the notable exceptions of the individual mandate and the overall price tag.
For example, after hearing that tax credits would be available to small businesses that want to offer coverage to their employees, 73 percent said it made them more supportive of the legislation. Sixty-seven percent said they were more supportive when they heard that the legislation included health insurance exchanges, and 63 percent felt that way after being told that people could no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Sixty percent were more supportive after hearing that the legislation would help close the Medicare "doughnut hole" so that seniors would no longer face a period of having to pay the full cost of their medicines. Of the 27 elements of the legislation tested in the poll, 17 moved a majority to feel more positively about the bills and two moved a majority to be more negative.
Which comes closer to describing your own views? Given the serious economic problems facing the country we cannot afford to take on health care reform right now OR it is more important
than ever to take on health care reform now?
54% Take on now
39% Cannot afford
As of right now, do you generally support or generally oppose the health care proposals being discussed in Congress?
42% Support, 41% Oppose (chart)
Do you think _____ would be better off or worse off if the president and Congress passed health care reform, or don't you think it would make much difference?
You and your family: 32% Better off, 33% Worse off, 29% No difference
The country as a whole: 42% Better off, 37% Worse off, 12% No difference
As far as you know, is the health reform bill currently being discussed in Congress expected to increase the federal budget deficit over the next ten years, decrease the deficit over the next
ten years, or is it not expected to have much impact on the deficit?
60% Increase, 15% Decrease, 17% No impact