Today, the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest Advance (CMPI-A), in partnership with Pajamas Media, is releasing national survey data on Americans’ views of the proposed health care reform legislation before Congress. CMPI-A leads the national grassroots initiative, Hands OFF My Health, a campaign that seeks to raise public awareness and better inform Americans about the potential costs and consequences of government-run health care. From Dr. Robert Goldberg, president of CMPI-A:
The poll suggests that Americans oppose how the health care bill is being passed and want more debate and a more democratic approach. … The potential of House Democrats sending the Senate bill to the president without an up or down vote is clearly counter to public sentiment and in strong opposition to the meager support for the tax increases, Medicare cuts and subsidies embedded in the reform bill. Not to mention, there remains strong public opposition to empowering government panels to set limits on future access to care and what kind of health plans the uninsured can have. What Americans do support are proposals to buy plans that reward healthy behavior, encourage saving and investing for future health needs, and policies that reward future treatments and cures.
The CMPI-A/PJM poll demonstrates an extremely high level of concern with the current bill:
· Six in ten Americans (60%) agree that a current Democrat proposal to send the Senate health care bill to the president without voting up or down on it is “unfair.”
· Most Americans oppose (81%) health care reforms that would increase insurance premiums for healthy people to offset premiums of people who wait until they are diagnosed with an illness to purchase insurance.
· Eight Americans in ten (81%) oppose allowing the government to decide what kind of health care coverage Americans are able to purchase.
· Most Americans (87%) oppose having a government panel recommend or decide what medical procedures or medical advances your doctor or health plan can or cannot use.
· More than eight Americans in ten (84%) support reforms that would allow people to buy health insurance where it is the least expensive, such as across state lines.
· Three in four Americans (76%) oppose health care reforms that would raise taxes and cut Medicare benefits to pay for health care subsidies for expanded coverage for those currently insured.
· Eight Americans in ten (78%) support health care reforms that would let people buy less costly health plans and save and invest for health care needs in the future on a tax-free basis.
· Half of Americans (51%) oppose health care reforms that would let people lock-in premiums by paying more for their insurance.
· Most Americans (85%) support health care reforms that would let people get lower premiums for getting or staying healthy.
· Eight Americans in ten (82%) support the idea that more money should be invested in the development of cures for the most devastating diseases.
The national poll also found that Americans are split on whether they support or oppose increasing Medicare payroll taxes for high wage earners (46% support, 47% oppose), or on reducing what doctors and hospitals are paid for their services (45% support, 48% oppose). Americans are also evenly split on whether or not they think it is credible that the new health care proposal will increase taxes and insurance premiums for 73 million Americans, as estimated by the Joint Committee on Taxation (47% say this is credible, 44% say it is not). Says Goldberg:
Senate and House Democrats are poised to employ legislative maneuvers and procedural sleights of hand to advance their reform package, but they should tread cautiously. … A majority of Americans believe that more time for discussion on health care reform is needed and Congress should start over on a health care reform bill.
When asked directly about the process for passing the health care reform bill, 65% of Americans prefer the “usual process” to budget reconciliation, and 60% believe it is unfair for House leadership to have the option to introduce a procedural rule that would “deem” the Senate health care reform bill as being passed without actually voting on the legislation itself.
These findings are from a weekly national telephone omnibus service from GfK Roper, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The survey was sponsored by the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest Advance in partnership with Pajamas Media. GfK Roper completed 1,000 interviews with a nationally-representative sample of Americans ages 18 years old and over. The interviews were conducted between March 12 and March 14, 2010. The average margin of error for the total sample is ± 3 percentage points.
Sampling for this study was conducted using a national probability sample of all exchanges and area codes across the continental United States. All interviews were conducted using a computer-assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from United States Census Bureau statistics.
About CMPI Advance
The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest Advance (CMPI Advance) is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(c)4 organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life, and make health care more affordable, preventive, and patient-centered. CMPI provides the public, policymakers, and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform, and comparative effectiveness.
About “Hands OFF My Health” Campaign
“Hands Off My Health” (www.handsoffmyhealth.org) is a national grassroots campaign of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest that seeks to raise public awareness and better inform Americans about the potential ramifications of government-run health care. The campaign emphasize that better health, increased access, and quality should be the foundation of the current national reform debate — not policies that will lead to greater government control in health care and stifle innovation, reduce treatment options for patients and providers, and interfere with the practice of high quality medicine. The campaigns brings together CMPI-A’s public education initiatives around the public option (www.publicplanfacts.org) and single payer health care systems (www.biggovhealth.org).