The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest poll finds:
... the public still split on health care reform legislation, with 43 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. However, the poll also finds that majorities of Americans of all political leanings support several provisions in the health reform proposals in Congress and most attribute delays in passing the legislation to political gamesmanship rather than policy disagreements.
The poll finds that at least six of every 10 Republicans, Democrats and independents back at least some of the key provisions in the reform bills that have passed the House and Senate. They include measures that would: reform the way health insurance works, such as preventing insurers from excluding people because of pre-existing conditions; offer tax credits to small businesses to help their workers get coverage; create a new health insurance marketplace; help close the Medicare "doughnut hole" so that seniors would no longer face a period of having to pay the full cost of their medicines; and expand high-risk insurance pools for individuals who cannot get coverage elsewhere. Providing subsidies to lower and middle income people also receives strong support from Democrats and independents and near majority support from Republicans.
The trouble with these sort of polls is that they almost never ask the right followup questions: How much would you be willing to see your insurance premiums rise if "insurers [are banned] from excluding people because of pre-existing conditions"? Do you understand that if "insurers [are banned] from excluding people because of pre-existing conditions," there will have to be a government mandate that healthy young people buy insurance? If there is no mandate, either the insurance industry will go bankrupt or rates will skyrocket. Tax credits reduce the amount of revenue the government collects. How much should the deficit increase to provide "tax credits to small businesses to help their workers get coverage." Expanded Medicare benefits require higher Medicare taxes. Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to close the doughnut hole? If so, how much? Providing government subsidies to low and middle income people to buy health insurance requires government expenditures. Are you willing to pay higher taxes to fund those subsidies? If so, how much? In sum, the trouble with polls like these is that they assume a free lunch and TANSTAAFL.