Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Most think health reform should have done more, AP poll finds

Even six months after the passage of major health reform legislation, you still hear almost daily rumblings that the American public is unhappy with health reform. Many view this unhappiness as a sign that health reform should be repealed. But is that what the unhappiness is really saying?

According to a recent AP poll, the numbers of Americans who think the law should have done more actually outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1. Further, about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral, the AP poll found.

In both the "get out of healthcare" faction and the "do-more" group, broad majorities said health insurance, medical care, and prescription drugs all cost too much. In both groups, most feel that the system should aim to increase the number of insured people and let Americans get the care they need, while improving quality.

Despite the agreement between the “get-outs” and the “do-mores,” the differences become evident when it comes to the how this should be accomplished:

  • Only 25 percent of the "get-outs" favor requiring health insurance companies to sell coverage to people regardless of pre-existing medical conditions, while 54 percent of the "do-mores" support it. Health reform legislation 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 percent favor requiring medium to large companies to provide insurance to their workers or pay a fine, a view that stands at only 28 percent among those who want the government out of healthcare. The law does not require employers to offer coverage, but companies face a penalty if any full-time employee gets a government health insurance subsidy.

  • The "get-outs" overwhelmingly reject the health care law's requirement that most Americans carry health insurance starting in 2014. But the "do-mores" are split, with 34 percent favoring the mandate, 33 percent opposing it, and 32 percent neutral.

For more information. For a comprehensive analysis of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and additional information on health reform and other developments in employee benefits, just click here.

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