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Public Still Divided on the Health Care Reform Bill

NEW YORK, March 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --On the second anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a new Harris Poll finds that the public is still more or less equally split between those who support it (36%) and oppose it (41%), with many people (23%) still not sure.

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However, very large numbers of people still do not know what is and is not in the bill. And when asked about some of the key elements of the bill, relatively few people want to repeal them, with the very important exception of the so-called "individual mandate" -- that everyone should have or buy insurance -- which a 51% to 20% majority would like to repeal.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,185 adults surveyed online between March 16 and 20, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Other important findings in this Harris Poll include:

  • When asked about six important elements of the bill, large numbers of people (from 66% to 37%) are not sure if they are or are not part of the bill. Modest majorities believe, correctly, that the following are in the bill:
    • Not allowing insurers to deny coverage to people because they are sick (54%);
    • Allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26 (55%); and,
    • That all employers with more than 50 employees must offer their employees affordable coverage (51%).
  • However other important elements of the bill are not known to most people including:
    • An annual fee to be paid by drug companies (20% know); and,
    • Tax credits for small business to provide insurance to their employees (39%).
  • Sizable minorities continue to believe that the following (which are not in it) are all part of the bill:
    • A new government run health plan (36%);
    • New ways to ration care (31%);
    • A cut in Medicare benefits (29%); and,
    • Panels to decide what care very sick, older patients should receive -- the so-called "death panels" (27%).

When shown eleven important elements of the bill, majorities want to keep seven of them and pluralities want to keep three of the other four.

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However a 51% to 20% majority wants to repeal the "individual mandate" that requires people to have or buy insurance. Substantial numbers (from 23% to 41%) are not sure whether they want to keep or repeal these eleven elements of the bill.

So What?

These new poll results, and the many other surveys about the health care reform bill (the Affordable Care Act), point to the following conclusions:

  1. Most of the opposition to the ACA is not based on what is actually in the bill.
  2. Rather it reflects a general hostility to President Obama and the fears of many Conservatives and Republicans that he and the Democrats are intent on expanding the role of government.
  3. In other words opposition to the ACA is based on the fact that it is the President's bill ("Obamacare") and that is one more step to increase "big government."
  4. Because the ACA is so complicated, it seems to be easier for critics to attack it with sound bites, broad generalizations about the expansion of government and "socialism," then it is for defenders of the bill who tend to focus on the details of the bill itself.

These poll findings suggest that the supporters of the bill need to do a better job of describing and explaining the specific benefits of the bill to the public, not just as tax-payers and citizens, but as consumers of health care services.

TABLE 1
SUPPORT OR OPPOSE OBAMA'S REFORM PROPOSALS – TREND
"Even if you don't know the details of his plan, how do you feel about President Obama's proposals for health care reform?"

Base: All Adults

Jan.

2009

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July

2009

Aug.

2009

Sept.

2009

Oct.

2009

Nov.

2009

Dec.

2009

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January

2010

March 2012

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Support (NET)

50

42

49

49

45

40

43

43

36

      Support strongly

25

20

24

26

23

23

19

20

16

      Support somewhat

26

21

25

23

22

17

25

23

20

Oppose (NET)

20

38

40

41

45

41

45

49

41

      Oppose somewhat

9

12

11

13

14

10

13

14

12

      Oppose strongly

12

27

29

29

31

31

32

35

29

Not sure

29

20

11

10

11

18

11

9

23

Support minus oppose

+30

+4

+9

+8

-

-1

-2

-6

-5

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 2
KNOWLEDGE OF ITEMS THAT ARE INCLUDED IN REFORM BILL (PPACA)
"Please indicate if you believe each of the following is included (or will result from) or is not included (or will not result from the health care reform bill that was signed by President Obama in March of this year.  If you don't know, please do not guess but check "Not sure."

Base: All adults

 

Is Included/

Will Result From

Is Not Included/

Will Not Result From

Not

Sure

Not allowing insurers to deny coverage to people

because they are sick

%

July 2010

58

9

34

March 2012

54

9

37

Allowing children to stay on their parents'

insurance until they are 26 years old

%

July 2010

55

9

35

March 2012

55

8

37

Financial penalties for all individuals who do not

have or do not buy insurance

%

July 2010

52

9

39

March 2012

48

11

40

All employers with more than 50 employees must

offer their employees affordable insurance

%

July 2010

50

9

41

March 2012

51

8

41

Tax credits for small business to provide insurance

to their employees

%

July 2010

43

14

43

March 2012

39

13

48

An annual fee to be paid by drug companies

%

July 2010

21

14

65

March 2012

20

14

66

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE 3
BELIEF THAT ITEMS NOT IN REFORM BILL (PPACA) ARE INCLUDED
"Please indicate if you believe each of the following is included (or will result from) or is not included (or will not result from the health care reform bill that was signed by President Obama in March of this year.  If you don't know, please do not guess but check "Not sure."

Base: All adults

 

 

 

Is Included/

Will Result From

Is Not Included/

Will Not Result From

Not

Sure

Higher income taxes for the middle class

%

July 2010

37

22

41

March 2012

24

28

48

New ways to ration health care

%

July 2010

36

18

46

March 2012

31

19

50

A new government run health plan to compete

with private insurance plans

%

July 2010

36

22

43

March 2012

36

20

44

A cut in Medicare benefits

%

July 2010

33

21

45

March 2012

29

23

48

Higher tax deductions from workers' pay

%

July 2010

33

16

50

March 2012

22

23

54

Panels to decide what care very sick, older people

should receive

%

July 2010

30

26

44

March 2012

27

25

48

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 4
ELEMENTS OF THE HEALTH CARE REFORM BILL THAT SHOULD BE KEPT OR REPEALED
"Please indicate if you would like to keep or repeal each of the following items, all of which are part of the healthcare reform bill signed by President Obama."

Base: All adults

 

Keep

Repeal

Not sure

Providing tax credits to small businesses to help pay for their employees' insurance

%

65

11

24

Preventing insurers from denying coverage to people because they are or have been sick

%

64

13

23

New insurance exchanges will be set up where people can shop for insurance

%

58

12

31

Allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26

%

53

23

24

Limiting insurance companies' profit margins

%

53

19

29

Research will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of different treatments

%

52

17

31

Requiring all employers with 50 or more employees to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty

%

51

22

27

An annual fee to be paid by drug companies

%

48

20

32

Increasing the number of people who are eligible for Medicaid

%

36

29

35

A new Independent Payment Advisory Board to limit the growth of Medicare spending

%

34

25

41

Requiring people who don't have insurance to buy it or pay a penalty

%

20

51

30

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 16 to 20, 2012 among 2,185 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll®#33, March 26, 2012
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

 

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

 

SOURCE Harris Interactive

Source:  PR Newswire Association LLC
Wordcount:  1819



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