Members of organized labor across the United States, considered key allies in President Obama’s pursuit of a health care takeover and implementation of a long list of new government requirements for health insurance, disagree with him on a number of key points, according to the results of a new poll.
That comes from the newest Zogby International–O’Leary Report poll of 4,426 likely voters Sept. 4-8. It has a margin of error of 1.5 percentage points.
A subset of 1,036 voters who are members of unions responded to a number of questions and submitted surprising answers, including the fact two-thirds of them do not believe the government should demand consumers buy health insurance.
“Union members are supposed to be important allies to President Obama in his push for a health care overhaul,” said Brad O’Leary, publisher of “The O’Leary Report.”
O’Leary, besides authoring the report bearing his name, also has written “Shut Up America: The End of Free Speech.”
“These poll results, however, show that even large percentages of union members reject the key tenets of ‘Obamacare,'” he said.
On the question: “Do you agree or disagree that the federal government should require all Americans to purchase health insurance, or face a fine?” Only 20 percent agreed and 12 percent were uncertain. A sizeable 67 percent said they disagreed with the point – a key component of Obama’s health care revolution plans.
The union members were equally split on which question reflected their feelings: A: A government-run ‘public’ health insurance option is needed to create more competition and choice in the health insurance marketplace. B: The public option is too intrusive to the free market and would eventually drive private health insurers out of business.
Fifty-four percent opposed an “employer mandate” that would require businesses, including small businesses, to provide health insurance to their employees or face a fine. Thirty-eight percent supported the idea.
The results of other questions:
- With which statement do you agree? Statement A: Expanding government’s role in health care is necessary to control costs and expand coverage. Statement B: Expanding government’s role in health care will do more harm than good.
Forty-four percent of union members chose A, 44 percent B.
- 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-seven percent chose support, 37 percent opposed.
- 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.
Forty-one percent chose to cover the 3.3 percent; 39 percent said overhaul the system.
- 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”?
Twenty-nine percent supported the plan, nearly 60 percent opposed it.
- Would you support or oppose having a government health insurance plan compete with private health insurance plans?
Forty-nine percent supported the plan, 45 percent opposed.
- Do you support or oppose a government-run health care system, or “single-payer” system, where the federal government pays for and provides health care for all Americans?
Forty-four percent supported the plan; 51 percent opposed.
- 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?
Seventy-six percent agreed; 14 percent disagreed.
- Do you support or oppose taxing employer-provided health care benefits?
Nearly 12 percent support the plan; 77 percent opposed.
- 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?
Twenty-four percent said yes; 56 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-four percent agreed; nearly six 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?
Only one in five agreed; 71 percent said no.
- 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?
Forty-three percent agreed; nearly 49 percent were opposed.
- 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.
Thirty-seven percent suggested adding to the deficit; 46 percent said lower the deficit first.
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