Citizens who know government-run health care the best – the recipients of Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and other programs – say they oppose Washington’s proposed expansion and think it will do more harm than good.
That comes from the newest Zogby International/O’Leary Report poll of 4,426 likely voters Sept. 4-8.
A subset of 842 voters found to be receiving government health care from a number of programs were asked a series of questions about the proposals offered by Washington.
According to the poll, a majority of American voters who currently are covered by a government health insurance program oppose more government intrusion into the health-care industry.
O’Leary, besides authoring the report bearing his name, also has written “Shut Up America: The End of Free Speech.”
The first poll question was: “Would you support or oppose having a government health insurance plan compete with private health insurance plans?”
More than 50 percent said they opposed a government-run option, about 41 percent said they support it and the rest were uncertain.
“Who better to ask about government-run health care than those who currently rely on the government for their health care?” asked Brad O’Leary, publisher of “The O’Leary Report.”
“Those Americans who have the most experience with government-run health care programs are clearly opposed to expanding government’s role in the health care business,” he said.
More than 54 percent of the respondents opposed the idea of a “single-payer” system in which the federal government pays for health care. Thirty-nine percent supported the idea.
Given a choice between a statement that the government is needed to control costs or the government’s role in health care will do more harm than good, 49 percent chose the second statement. Thirty-eight percent chose the first.
A fourth question was: “Would you support or oppose a provision that banned the government or insurance companies from considering a patient’s age or life-expectancy when deciding whether or not to cover certain medical procedures?”
Fifty-five percent supported the statement while 38 percent were opposed.
The respondents also expressed a desire to pinpoint corrections in the present system where problems are discovered.
Question No. 5 was, “It is estimated that 10 million Americans, 3.3 percent of the U.S. population, are too poor to afford health insurance, yet their income levels are high enough to disqualify them from government-provided health care programs like Medicaid. Should health care reform focus on providing coverage for this 3.3 percent of Americans, or should congress overhaul the entire U.S. health care system.”
More than 45 percent said address the 3.3 percent who have difficulties, while 36 percent suggested a systemwide overhaul.
More than two of three opposed the idea of the government requiring everyone to buy health insurance or face a fine. Only 18 percent supported the idea.
Other questions were:
- President Obama is promoting a new government agency called the “Independent Medicare Advisory Council,” and some people believe this agency should use its powers to deny payment for procedures it deems unnecessary or futile. Others say that such power would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Do you support or oppose the creation of an “Independent Medicare Advisory Council?”
Sixty-two percent opposed the idea; 26 percent supported it.
- Which statement comes closest to your opinion? Statement A: A government-run “public” health insurance option is needed to create more competition and choice in the health insurance marketplace. Statement B: The public option is too intrusive to the free market and would eventually drive private health insurers out of business.
Forty percent chose “A,” while 44 percent chose “B.”
- An “employer mandate” would require businesses, including small businesses, to provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. Some say this would help bring health insurance to more people who don’t currently have it. Others say it would harm job creation and economic growth, forcing some employers to stop providing their employees with health insurance if it is cheaper for them to pay the fine. Do you support or oppose an “employer mandate?”
Only 32 percent supported the plan; 56 percent opposed it.
- Currently, medical malpractice insurance costs doctors in some areas of the country up to $200,000 per year, a cost that doctors pass on to their patients in the form of higher fees for service. Do you agree or disagree that tort reform is needed?
Only 12 percent think no reform is needed; 78 percent said yes.
- Do you support or oppose taxing employer-provided health care benefits?
Nearly 72 percent opposed the idea; 16 percent supported it.
- As long as the federal government provides financial help to those who cannot afford health insurance, do you think the federal government should fine businesses that do not provide insurance for their employees and also fine individuals who choose not to purchase health insurance?
Nineteen percent said yes; 62 percent no.
- Currently, Americans may only purchase health insurance from a provider licensed in their state. Some say that Americans should be allowed to purchase health insurance from providers in different states possibly creating more competition and driving down the price of health insurance. Do you agree or disagree?
Eighty-three percent agreed; 6.2 percent disagreed.
- There are currently 26 million Americans age 18 and older who can afford to purchase health insurance, but choose not to purchase it for a variety of reasons. There are also 12 million illegal immigrants in America who lack health insurance. Do you think taxes should be raised to fund a government-run health insurance program for these people?
More than 82 percent said no; fewer than 8 percent said yes.
- Some in Congress would like to institute a 5 percent surtax on people who make more than one million dollars per year in order to pay for health reform. This tax, combined with others, would raise the top marginal tax rate to over 50 percent in 39 states. Opponents of this surtax say that this tax will hit job producers the most, and slow economic recovery. Proponents of the surtax say that it is needed to cover the cost of providing health insurance to everyone in the U.S. Do you agree or disagree with taxing millionaires an additional 5 percent to pay for a new health care system?
Just 40 percent agreed; nearly 50 percent disagreed.
- Should President Obama and Congress add to the deficit by overhauling our health-care system, or should they lower the deficit first before they consider a $1 trillion health care overhaul.
Twenty-eight percent said add to the deficit; nearly 50 percent said lower the deficit first.
- Health care legislation being promoted by the White House and leaders in Congress does not include a ban on abortions being covered under the taxpayer-funded and government-run “public option” insurance plan. Would you support or oppose an amendment attached to any federal health care bill that clearly bans federal tax dollars from being used to fund abortions?
Fifty-seven percent expressed support; 35 percent opposed.
O’Leary said citizens who want to contact Congress about the issue can do so at HealthCareVote.com.
If you are a member of the media and would like to interview Brad O’Leary about this story, e-mail [email protected]