The Public is Willing to Support Many Options to Expand Health Insurance Coverage...But Not All
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – May 8, 2007 – Half of all U.S. adults with health insurance coverage worry that their expenses will be so high that they won’t be able to afford it. Just as many worry that their coverage will be drastically reduced or eliminated because of costs; one in five adults worries a great deal about these issues.
Three in four U.S. adults support a variety of initiatives to expand insurance coverage, including employer mandates, government subsidies for the uninsured and tax credits to help individuals afford health insurance. All of these options are viewed with equal favor by individuals who currently have employer-sponsored coverage and those who are uninsured. By contrast, only 26 percent of those polled said they are willing to pay more in taxes to cover more people under Medicare or Medicaid.
These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,402 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive® between April 13 and 17, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition (www.wsj.com/health).
Seventy-four percent of U.S. adults polled said they would support a measure requiring employers to provide insurance for all of their employees. However, the question of employer mandates often raises concerns about the impact this might have on smaller employers. The public is of two minds on this issue. Two-thirds of all adults believe that requiring smaller employers to provide health insurance might force some employers out of business. But, when asked if the benefits of such mandates would outweigh these risks, 47 percent say they would and 53 percent say they would not.
Katherine Binns, President of Healthcare Research at Harris Interactive, said, "As the Democrats establish their agenda on Capitol Hill and the Presidential candidates launch their campaigns, a variety of proposals have been made to expand health insurance to cover more of the uninsured. These findings suggest that the public is willing to back proposals that do not rely on big government or higher taxes. With large numbers of insured people worrying about the affordability and security of their benefits, its not surprising to see that support for these types of programs is equally strong among the insured as well the uninsured."