Poll shows less fear on health care overhaul

Feb 24, 2010 By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- With President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in limbo, Americans' fears about its effect on them eased in January, according to a poll released as the president tries to revive sweeping Democratic legislation.

The monthly poll from the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also found that three-fourths of Americans still think it's important that Obama include in addressing the nation's - even if many have misgivings.

"Job numbers continue to lag and nearly a quarter of Americans are still concerned they might lose coverage," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the foundation, a philanthropic and research organization that supports health care reform.

The poll found that the proportion of Americans who said they feared their access to doctors and hospitals would get worse under the Democratic plans dropped to 29 percent, from 33 percent who had expressed such concerns in December. In the January poll fewer than 12 percent said that they thought their access would improve.

Obama's plan - and the Democratic health care bills - would extend coverage to around 95 percent of Americans - up from about 84 percent today. They would require most Americans to carry health insurance, with government help to make premiums more affordable. Insurance companies would be barred from denying coverage to people with health problems. New insurance markets would be created for small businesses and people who buy their own coverage, but Americans covered through large employers would not see major changes.

That plan - or something very close to it - appeared to be only a step away from Obama's desk until Jan. 19, when Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown to replace the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Democrats lost their 60-vote Senate majority, and the ability to override Republican objections to the bill. Health care overhaul slipped into congressional limbo, and has been stuck there ever since.

The poll, taken Jan. 3-Jan. 26, coincided with Brown's upset victory and the reversal of the health plan's fortunes. But it was not possible to tell from the data if that led to the shift in public opinion on access to care.

On other measures, pessimists tended to outnumber optimists on health care overhaul.

- Nearly 31 percent said they thought the Democratic bills would make their personal financial situation worse, compared with 10 percent who said it would improve their family budgets.

-Forty-two percent said the nation's fiscal condition would suffer because of the legislation, compared with 26 percent who said it would get better.

-Americans were divided on whether the Democrats' approach would improve overall access to health care around the country, with 35 percent saying it would, and nearly that many disagreeing.

The telephone poll of about 500 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. It also found a slight improvement in consumer confidence in their coverage and their ability to get the care they need.

Explore further: How drinking behavior changes through the years

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

White House: Dems near accord on health care bill

Feb 18, 2010

(AP) -- The White House and congressional leaders are preparing a detailed health care proposal designed to win passage without Republican support if GOP lawmakers fail to embrace bipartisan compromises at ...

Kennedy bill would make employers provide care

Jun 06, 2009

(AP) -- Employers would be required to offer health care to employees or pay a penalty - and all Americans would be guaranteed health insurance - under a draft bill circulated Friday by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's ...

Senate panel OKs middle-of-the-road health plan

Oct 13, 2009

(AP) -- With support from a lone Republican, a key Senate committee Tuesday approved a middle-of-the-road health care plan that moves President Barack Obama's goal of wider and affordable coverage a giant ...

Recommended for you

Endocrine disruptors cause fatty liver

57 minutes ago

Exposure to low doses of hormone-disrupting chemicals early in life can alter gene expression in the liver as well as liver function, increasing the susceptibility to obesity and other metabolic diseases in adulthood, a new ...

Extended pre-cessation bupropion helps smokers quit

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Extended pre-quit bupropion is associated with reduced smoking behavior during the pre-quit period and improved short-term abstinence rates, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in ...

Medical device surveillance on the horizon

6 hours ago

Thousands of people around the world have been exposed to toxic chemicals generated by their metal hip implants. Similarly, many patients have contracted infections from pieces of implanted mesh used in hernia-repair surgery, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.