Wider Access to Health Care Worth Higher Taxes, Poll Finds
Access to affordable health care is the leading domestic issue for U.S. adults, and a majority are willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that all U.S. residents have access to care, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll, the Times reports.
The poll involved a telephone survey of 1,281 U.S. adults conducted from Feb. 23 to Feb. 27, and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
According to the poll, 60% of U.S. adults said they would be willing to pay higher taxes to ensure that all U.S. residents have access to health insurance. Half of U.S. adults said they would be willing to pay as much as $500 a year in higher taxes to expand health insurance access.
Nearly 80% of U.S. adults said they believe it was more important to provide universal access to health insurance than it was to extend tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration. Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults said that the government should guarantee health insurance for all, compared with 56% of U.S. adults in a poll conducted in 1996.
Twenty-seven percent of U.S. adults in the latest poll said that the government should not guarantee health insurance for all, down from 38% in 1996.
According to the Times, U.S. residents "remain divided largely along party lines over whether the government should require everyone to participate in a national health insurance plan, and over whether the government would do a better job than the private insurance industry in providing coverage." When U.S. adults were asked to choose between the current health care system and a universal health care system administered by the government and funded by taxpayers, 38% said they preferred the current system and 47% said they preferred the government-run system.
Twenty-four percent of U.S. adults said they were satisfied with President Bush's efforts on the health insurance issue, and 62% said that Democrats were more likely than Bush to improve the health care system. Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults said they had confidence in the ability of presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to "make the right decisions on health care," compared to 49% who said they were unsure about her ability to do so.
Eighty-four percent of adults support expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- which is up for reauthorization this year -- to cover all uninsured children.
The poll also found that 25% of insured U.S. adults said someone in their household went without a medical test or treatment because their insurance would not cover it. Sixty percent of U.S. adults without insurance said someone in their household had gone without care because of the cost.
Most U.S. adults said that they were satisfied with their health care quality, but nearly half of insured adults said their employers have reduced health benefits or required or increased employee contributions to health plans in recent years (Toner/Elder, New York Times, 3/2).
The poll is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.