North Star Opinion Research’s Analysis for YG Network of YG Policy Center’s Health Care Reform National Survey
March 11-14, 2012
North Star Opinion Research conducted a national telephone survey of 1000 registered voters for the YG Policy Center to detail concerns about health care reform that can be found at www.ygpolicy.org. The sample used in that poll for the YG Policy Center contains five percentage points more Democrats than Republicans, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent. The poll was conducted to gather information about the public's view on a variety of health care issues facing America as we approach the two-year anniversary of President Obama's signature health care law, which will soon be before the Supreme Court.
North Star Opinion Research has reviewed the results of the YG Policy Center’s poll for YG Network. The results show that, nearly two years after its passage, voters remain opposed to the health care reform law, are skeptical of its effects, and think President Obama's claims about the law before its passage are not true.
1.Overwhelming majorities of voters think that six of seven claims that President Obama made about the health care reform plan before its passage are false. Specifically, voters say:
•“The plan will not add one dime to the federal budget deficit” is false by a 71 to 20 percent margin.
•“The plan will lower health insurance premiums for the average family by two thousand five hundred dollars per year” is false by a 67 to 21 percent margin.
•“The plan will lower health care costs for individuals, businesses, and the federal government” is false by a 64 to 26 percent margin.
•“The plan will not require cuts in Medicare” is false by a 57 to 30 percent margin.
•“The plan will not increase taxes for anyone who earns under two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year” is false by a 57 to 32 percent margin.
•“The plan will not lead to a doctor shortage, rationing, or harm the quality of care” is false by a 56 to 37 percent margin.
•The only claim tested that voters believe is true is “If you like your current health plan, you can keep it.” Voters think that is true by a 64 to 27 percent margin.
2.Majorities of voters think the health care reform law will increase their health care costs, their health insurance premiums, their taxes, and the federal deficit, while simultaneously saying it will decrease rather than increase the quality of care. Voters say that the health care reform law will increase rather than decrease their health care costs by 58 to 7 percent, increase their health insurance or Medicare premiums by 56 to 6 percent, increase their taxes by 59 to 4 percent, and increase the federal deficit by 60 to 7 percent. At the same time, voters think the law will decrease rather than increase the quality of health care they receive by a 30 to 18 percent margin (42 percent say no effect).
3.Over two-thirds of voters say the federal government does not “have the authority to require every American to buy health care insurance or pay a fine.” Voters overall say the federal government does not have the authority for the individual mandate by a 69 to 24 percent margin. Voters of all three political persuasions believe the federal government does not have that authority: Republicans by 88 to 8 percent, Independents by 70 to 22 percent, and Democrats by 52 to 41 percent.
4.Not surprisingly, then, voters oppose the health care reform law … Voters oppose the health care reform law by a 45 to 38 percent margin, including 34 percent strong opposition and 22 percent strong support. Republicans oppose it by 77 to 9 percent, as do Independents by 46 to 35 percent. Only Democrats support it, by a margin of 67 to 15 percent.
5.… and a majority of voters says Congress should “repeal and replace the health care reform law passed in 2010.” Voters overall say Congress should repeal and replace the law by a 53 to 37 percent margin. Republicans say the law should be repealed and replaced by 82 to 12 percent, as do Independents by 56 to 33 percent. Democrats oppose repeal by 65 to 24 percent
After the initial question without providing a rationale, voters were given reasons for implementing the law and reasons for repealing and replacing it. The margin in favor of repealing and replacing the law remains fairly constant, but attaching President Obama's name to the law exacerbates the partisan divide:
Which of the following statements comes closer to your view: (ROTATE)
a)President Obama’s health care plan is an important achievement that will allow all Americans to have access to health insurance, and should be implemented as soon as possible.
b)President Obama’s health care plan will add too much to the deficit, raise taxes, and give the government too much power over health care, and should be repealed and replaced.
With this reasoning, voters prefer repeal by a 54 to 40 percent margin. Republicans support repeal and replace with this wording by 89 to 7 percent, as do Independents by 57 to 36 percent. Democrats oppose repeal by 73 to 18 percent.
6.Voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supports repealing and replacing the health care reform law. Voters would be more likely rather than less likely to vote for a candidate who supports repealing and replacing the health care law by a 39 to 23 percent margin. Independents would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports repeal by 38 to 22 percent.
7.Voters believe President Obama did the wrong thing by focusing on passing health care reform during his first year in office.
Which of the following statements comes closer to your view: (ROTATE)
a)President Obama did the right thing by focusing on passing health care reform his first year in office. Rising health care costs and the uninsured were major problems we could no longer wait to address.
b)President Obama did the wrong thing by focusing on passing health care reform his first year in office. He should have worked harder to get the economy going and creating jobs before moving on to other issues.
By 56 to 38 percent, voters believe the President did the wrong thing by focusing on health care reform rather than the economy during his first year in office. Republicans think he did the wrong thing by 91 to 6 percent, as do Independents by 55 to 37 percent. Democrats think he did the right thing by 69 to 25 percent.
8.When it comes to what should be in a law to replace the 2010 health care reform law, voters support a wide variety of different proposals. Large majorities of voters support proposals to reform medical malpractice, control costs, ensure access to health insurance, improve flexibility for individuals and states, and expand choices for patients:
|Reforming Medical Malpractice:|
|• Reforming the medical malpractice system to reduce the number of||71%||20%|
|lawsuits against doctors and hospitals.|
|• Allowing young people to purchase health insurance policies with basic,||84%||10%|
|limited coverage at much lower premiums than currently available.|
|• Allowing people to purchase health insurance on an a la carte basis, so||81%||15%|
|they could buy a cheaper policy that does not cover things they do not|
|need or want.|
|• Allowing people to purchase health insurance across state lines to||78%||15%|
|increase the number of options in the marketplace.|
|Ensuring Access to Health Insurance:|
|• Requiring health insurance plans to offer insurance to people who||89%||8%|
|have a pre-existing condition.|
|•||Allowing individuals to purchase health insurance coverage with pre-tax||86%||9%|
|dollars, so that they can have an insurance policy they own themselves,|
|and can keep if they change jobs.|
|• Expanding health savings accounts that allow people to save money||83%||11%|
|tax-free for use on any medical expenses.|
|• Encouraging health care reform at the state level, rather than the federal||67%||25%|
|level so that each state can enact reforms that are best for its residents.|
|• Using block grants to give states more flexibility on how they administer||60%||24%|
|their Medicaid plans.|
|• Ensuring that patients and doctors can make health care decisions without||85%||10%|
|the interference of government bureaucrats.|
|• Allowing seniors who choose to do so to purchase private health insurance||62%||27%|
|coverage with Medicare money, instead of using traditional Medicare.|
This survey demonstrates that American voters do not believe President Obama's claims about the health care reform law were true, and they think the consequences of that law are negative for their health care costs, premiums, taxes, the deficit, and the quality of care. They think the President erred by focusing on health care rather than the economy during his first year in office, and they do not believe the federal government has the authority to require all Americans to purchase health care insurance. Consequently they would like to see the health care reform law repealed and replaced with alternative policies that would control costs, ensure access to health insurance, improve flexibility, expand choice, and reform medical malpractice.
The YG Policy Center’s survey of 1000 registered voters was conducted March 11-14, 2012 and can be found at www.ygpolicy.org. Respondents were selected randomly from a random-digit- dialing sample including both cellular and landline telephone numbers, and were contacted by live interviewers. All respondents confirmed that they are registered to vote in the county in which they live. Quotas were set for state, age, and race based on state registration and previous turnout. The sample has a partisan balance of 34 percent Democrat, 33 percent Independent, and 29 percent Republican.