July 1st, 2009
05:00 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans worry Obama health care plan will increase costs

WASHINGTON (CNN)– A new national poll suggests that a bare majority of Americans support President Barack Obama's health care plan.

But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning indicates that most people are worried that their health care costs would go up if the administration's proposals are passed and only one in five think that their families would be better off under the Obama plan.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say they favor the president's health care plan, with 45 percent opposed. Obama aims to bring down health care costs and provide medical insurance to many of the more than 45 million Americans currently without coverage. His proposals, which are making their way through five different congressional committees in the Senate and the House, also call for a government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers.

"Women and younger Americans are slightly more likely to support Obama's approach to health care," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Those are usually the groups that are more concerned about health care and health insurance."

The poll suggests that 55 percent think the U.S. health care system is in need of a great deal of reform, with four in ten saying only some reform is needed. Nearly half of those questioned have more trust in the President rather than Republicans in Congress to handle health care form, with 38 percent backing the congressional Republicans over Obama.

A government run health insurance program is one of the most controversial parts of the Obama health reform proposals, with Republicans suggesting that such a plan could force current health care providers out of business, forcing Americans to switch doctors. The poll indicates such arguments may not be working.

"Two-thirds believe that the president's plan would allow them to see the same doctors they currently receive care from, and most say that their health insurance provider would not go out of business if Obama's plan is passed," says Holland.

But the poll does provide some ammunition for Republicans opposed to the president's proposals. Fifty-four percent say their medical insurance costs will increase if the Obama plan becomes law, with 17 percent feeling their costs will decrease. Around one in four say their costs will remain the same. And only one in five say their family will be better off if the president's plan becomes law, with 35 percent feeling they would be worse off, and 44 percent saying they would be about the same.

The Obama push for health care reform is the first major wide scale drive for overhaul by an administration since President Bill Clinton's failed attempts in 1993 and 1994. The poll finds some interesting comparisons.

"In September of 1993, when Bill Clinton was just starting to roll out his ill-fated health care plan, 54 percent said they supported Clinton's ideas on that issue. Today 51 percent feel the same way about Obama's proposals," Holland says. "That indicates that Obama may have his work cut out for him in the coming months."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (126 Responses)
  1. David

    The recent polls suggest two facts:
    (1) We have been successfully kept in the dark as to the quality and current cost of health care in the US.
    (2) Too many of us haven't the slightest conception or concern as to relative costs and values-specifically national defense vs health care.

    July 1, 2009 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  2. ;etty

    This fear tactics of the special interest group would fail this time. The fact that we all believe our healthcare system is broken, doing nothing is absolutely not an option.

    Go ahead with your plan piblic option president Obama. The American citizens are behind you and would dump all those senators who are blocking your reform agenda come 2010 or 2012.

    July 1, 2009 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  3. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Opponents of changing the health care system use words like "personal freedom", freedom of choice, competition, etc., to scare people. The only thing they are worried about is profits for the insurance companies.
    As for the scare word "socialized medicine", we are halfway there and no one I know of who is on a government-funded plan would trade it for one they have to lay out hard cash for. At least when it is in taxes, and I lose my job, I don't lose my insurance.

    July 1, 2009 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  4. bco

    Someone's been spinning this debate counter-clockwise! We would not be having this debate at all if the current system worked. It does not work for two reasons:

    a) Health care is not portable, and is instead left to the luck of the draw, as to whether or not you are lucky enough to get health care through your employer (assuming that you are lucky enough to have a job).

    b) A bloated for-profit HMO industry sits between doctor and patient, soaking up large stacks of money.

    It is surprising that many Americans would fear that providing an alternative that removed the HMO money sponge would result in higher costs. I would expect the opposite.

    July 1, 2009 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  5. Tony in Maine

    A universal single payer government (not for greed) health plan would lower cost even if paid out of tax money.

    What Harry and Louise's corporate masters want you to forget is that the 12-15K they get for every family won't be there. They'd also rather you not think about the high overhead they run with redundant bureaucracies (that hide behind telephone trees) and obscenely overpaid executives.

    They whine that they can't compete with a government plan. Maybe it's time for their hallowed free market to work and they can slink back into the vault to roll around in the gold they've already stolen.

    July 1, 2009 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  6. cecilia

    Are you saying that what we have today does not cost anything significant ? Perhaps that is because you do not factor in the cost of human life.

    Of course women and younger adults support President Obama's plan, they make up the marjority of those without coverage or coverage for those they are responsible for.

    what we have now is broken – fix it

    July 1, 2009 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  7. James A.

    Something as complex as Healthcare Reform is going to take a while for the laymen to understand. This means that the Obama administration needs to find creative ways to explain it in non-technical terms that everyone can relate to; and the opposition needs to add some detail to their criticisms. Right now, this whole debate looks the "wacky professor" vs the "incorrigible kids" - who do you believe?

    July 1, 2009 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  8. Carroll

    Higher costs, give me a break! If people read-up and get the real story and truth, they will be happy that someone is in the White House steering the upgrade to lower cost. Do nothing and no one will or could pay for it. I guess they want to get less and pay more with no action.... I'm not stupid We have to lower cost people..... And bring it up to date for the future.

    July 1, 2009 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  9. joe smith

    but the burning question is; does AIPAC and their handlers feel like its' a workable plan..you know, follow the money..

    July 1, 2009 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  10. john

    Of course we are just like anything else that would help its called brain washing. Gee not rocket science. We have been spoon fed to think the 'market' will care for our health care. What a crap shoot! Just remember that the Republican=Evagelicals also wanted to put Social Security into the Stock market! Little wonder why all of us in what used to be the middle class are in chpts 7! Don't belive this right wing crap for a minute health care is a right not a market privilege!

    July 1, 2009 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  11. independent Jim

    Of course, the plan will increase costs. How do you provide health insurance to 50 million more people without either increasing costs or taxes? The real question is whether the other 250 million of us care enough to pay for it?

    July 1, 2009 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  12. ken

    Do we need the government in health care too, they did such a
    swell job to the car business

    July 1, 2009 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  13. When was the last time a claims adjuster took your bloodpressure?

    This poll is all over the place, because nobody really knows what to do with healthcare.

    The third rail on healthcare is insurance companies. The only thing insurance companies add to the total healthcare picture is a middleman and extra cost. If we remove this unnecessary adminstrative cost, we could put the savings toward better health services.

    July 1, 2009 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  14. Mike in Cincinnati

    Sure I'm worried about the cost. But the alternatives of not doing anything, or making only tweeks to a broken system, would cost this country billions, perhaps trillions more. Obama's health reform plan makes sense at a time when bold action is required to keep us from spiraling into total health care and economic chaos.

    July 1, 2009 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  15. toby hill

    Just like Cap and Trade it will increase the cost. Someone has to pay for those that don't. We have healthcare for all that can't afford, it's called Medicaid and if someone looks at their paycheck stubs they will note that it is already taxed.

    July 1, 2009 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  16. Steve

    I am concerned about the costs and putting this country in further debt. My main concern is the quality of health care. I do not want politicians telling my doctor what care they can give me. I do not want politicians giving my doctor their guidelines on how to go about treating everything. My doctor is my doctor and my politician is my politician. I do not want my politician to be my doctor and that is going to happen under this plan. This is why I feel Obama's plan is wrong.

    July 1, 2009 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  17. Candy West Virginia

    Isn't it amazing how the entire 8 years the repubs were in rule they never did one thing regarding health care reform?

    July 1, 2009 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  18. Bosworth

    How can it NOT increase costs? True, he inherited a huge deficit and a bad economy (which, by the way, he presided over as a Senator). Spending like a teenage oil baron's son and creating entirely new business methods certainly isn't going to CUT BACK on anything. People need to decide whether they want affordable health care for a certain segment of our society or a stable economy with manageable deficit. To me, it seems like we won't be able to sustain health care without a stable economy, so logic seems to dictate that we should fix the economy FIRST, THEN turn to the health care problem, which has been around for a very long time anyway. Obama's just too quick to cram too much down everyone's throats. He needs to settle down and focus on one thing at a time.

    July 1, 2009 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  19. Kyle, SD

    I'd rather pay for health care than wars.

    July 1, 2009 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  20. Fred NJ

    Getting government involved in health care is plain stupidity. Look at how Social Security is managed. Look at how Medicare and Medicaid are managed. If that is not enough, look at how the government manages it's budget. It's not just the Democrats who are to blame, although they carry most of the burden, but the Republicans are just as culpable.

    There are other proposal on the board that should be openly discussed but the current administration does not what that dialog. They are afraid of dissent and revealing the truth.

    July 1, 2009 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  21. Kat

    I wonder how these people polled formed an opinion. Have the details of these plans been made public???

    July 1, 2009 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  22. Teri

    Contrary to GOP rhetoric and distortions, I strongly believe in President Obama's abilities to bring about the Change we voted for. And a part of that Change is affordable, quality health care for all. A Public Option or single payer plan, seems to be the only assurance of Good quality and affordable health care coverage for all. And I don't beleive its acheivable without a strong government presence.

    Also in contrast to Republicants scare tactics, I beleive a public option will NOT drive insurance companies out of the health care business, but instead force them to become competitive. Currently insurance companies have absolutely NO incentive to reduce the cost to consumers or employer based health plans. A Public Option will force insurance companies to become more compeititive by offering lower rates and better coverage. If President Obama comes up with another way... I would be completely open to it. But at this point a public option seems to be the only means possible. Nothing is free, and I also think we Americans who choose a public option should pay our share of the Premium just as if we were to pay our portion of a premium through an employer's health plan.

    July 1, 2009 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  23. the rector

    Instead of "health care reform" read here insurance industry bonanza. Obama is trying to serve up the entire population to the multi national insurance vultures so they can squeeze the last of your discetionary income from your pockets. It is obvious that he is paying the industry off for their support and money during the campaign, just like wall st and detroit, and you can see how well that has worked out for us. We have an oportunity to make this country what it should have always been, but we're not going to do that, no we are going to sit back and let this administration and their coleagues on the other side of the isle run rough shod over the remains of the constitution and ruin the best chance any of us has ever had to actually be free and have a voice. First they have declared war on gun owners, the silent strenght behind all freedom loving people, and then they pushed these economic catastrophies down our throats so that our grandchildren will be paying for this stimulus package, if they still have a country let alone a job market. Our headlines read unrest in iran, a coup in honduras. What about the bait and switch that obama has pulled? Forcing citizens to buy insurance from an unregulated private industry with all those lobbiests and lawyers is illegal and unconstitutional and in tantamount to treason. Where is that headline CNN?

    July 1, 2009 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  24. Mike

    Private insurance is too expensive, I prefer to have options.

    July 1, 2009 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  25. Paul

    Let's face it, Clinton achieved nothing on health care, Bush accomplished just a little. The worst thing we can do is nothing. Give Obamas plan a chance.

    July 1, 2009 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
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