Many think health over­haul should do more, sur­vey finds

It’s no vin­di­ca­tion for Obama’s plan, but it could dis­com­fit those who aim to re­peal it.

Los Angeles Times - - The Nation -

washington — Pres­i­dent Obama’s health­care over­haul has di­vided the nation, and Repub­li­cans be­lieve their call for re­peal will help them win elec­tions in Novem­ber. But the pic­ture’s not that clear.

An As­so­ci­ated Press poll finds that Amer­i­cans who think the law should have done more out­num­ber those who think the govern­ment should stay out of health­care — by 2 to 1.

“I was dis­ap­pointed that it didn’t pro­vide uni­ver­sal cov­er­age,” said Bronwyn Bleak­ley, 35, a bi­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor from Eas­ton, Mass.

More than 30 mil­lion peo­ple would gain cov­er­age in 2019 when the law is fully phased in, but 20 mil­lion or so oth­ers would re­main unin­sured. Bleak­ley, who was unin­sured early in her ca­reer, views the over­haul as a work in progress.

The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health­care sys­tem, re­gard­less of whether they sup­port the law, op­pose it or re­main neu­tral. On the other side, about one in five say they op­pose the law be­cause they think the fed­eral govern­ment should not be in­volved in health­care at all.

The AP poll was con­ducted by Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity with the Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion. Over­all, 30% fa­vored the leg­is­la­tion, 40% op­posed it, and 30% were neu­tral.

Those num­bers are no en­dorse­ment for Obama’s plan, but the sur­vey also found a deep-seated de­sire for change that could pose a prob­lem for Repub­li­cans. Only 25% in the poll said min­i­mal tin­ker­ing would suf­fice for the health­care sys­tem.

The poll did find some agree­ment among peo­ple who think the law should do more and those who think govern­ment should get out.

Broad ma­jori­ties of both the “get-outs” and “do­mores” said med­i­cal care, health in­surance and pre­scrip­tion drugs cost too much. And most said the sys­tem should aim to in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple with in­surance and en­able Amer­i­cans to get the care they need, while im­prov­ing qual­ity.

The dif­fer­ences emerge when it comes to the means:

Only 25% of the “getouts” fa­vor re­quir­ing health in­surance com­pa­nies to sell cov­er­age to peo­ple re­gard­less of pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions, while 54% of the “do-mores” sup­port it. The law re­quires in­sur­ers to cover chil­dren re­gard­less of health prob­lems start­ing this year, and that pro­tec­tion is ex­tended to peo­ple of all ages in 2014.

Among those who want a law that does more, 68% fa­vor re­quir­ing medium to large com­pa­nies to pro­vide in­surance to their work­ers or pay a fine; that stands at 28% among those who want the govern­ment out. The law does not re­quire em­ploy­ers to of­fer cov­er­age, but it hits com­pa­nies that have 50 or more work­ers with a penalty if any full-time em­ployee gets a govern­ment sub­sidy for health in­surance.

The “get-outs” over­whelm­ingly re­ject the health­care law’s re­quire­ment that most Amer­i­cans carry health in­surance start­ing in 2014. But the “do­mores” are split, with 34% fa­vor­ing the man­date, 33% op­pos­ing it and 32% neu­tral.

The sur­vey was con­ducted Aug. 31to Sept. 7 and in­volved in­ter­views with 1,251 ran­domly cho­sen adults na­tion­wide. The mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror was plus or mi­nus 3.9 per­cent­age points.

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