September 2nd, 2009
02:26 PM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Keep working on health care reform

The CNN poll suggests that Americans are split over what they've heard about President Barack Obama's proposals to reform health care, with 48 percent in favor of his plans and 51 percent opposed.
The CNN poll suggests that Americans are split over what they've heard about President Barack Obama's proposals to reform health care, with 48 percent in favor of his plans and 51 percent opposed.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A slight majority of Americans want Congress to continue working on health care reform when lawmakers return from summer recess next week, according to a new national poll. But nearly half of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday say Congress should start from scratch, or stop working at all on any bills that would change the country's health care system.

The poll indicates that one in four Americans want Congress to pass into law with relatively few changes the health care bills already approved by committees. Another 28 percent say the bills should be become law - but only after major alterations to the legislation. One in four say lawmakers should start from scratch, and one in five feel Congress should stop all work towards health care reform.

As the health care issue moves from town halls to the floor of the U.S. House and Senate, says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, "most Americans want to see some action on the bills that have already been prepared by congressional committees. But that doesn't translate into support for everything in those bills, or everything that Barack Obama has pushed for to date."

What do Americans want Congress to do on health care? CNN Radio reports:

The poll suggests that Americans are split over what they've heard about President Barack Obama's proposals to reform health care, with 48 percent in favor of his plans and 51 percent opposed.

Click here for the full results (pdf)


"That's essentially where the public was in early summer. Our June poll showed 51 percent supporting the Obama plan at that time, but with the sampling error, it's unclear whether there has been much change on this issue," adds Holland.

According to the survey, there's a major generational divide over health care reform, with six in 10 of the country's 18 to 34-year-olds in favor of Obama's plans, and six in 10 seniors opposed to the president's proposals. Those 65 and older are also skeptical over how the president's health care reform proposals will directly affect their coverage: Nearly half of the seniors polled say Medicare recipients would be worse off under the proposed reforms, with one in three feeling things would remain the same, and just one in five saying they'd be better off.

The poll's release comes during the last week of summer recess for Congress. Many lawmakers held and continue to hold town halls on health care reform, where often-raucous protests by opponents of the president's plans have grabbed headlines.

Did those protests affect views on the issue? Six in 10 say no, says Holland, who notes that support for Obama's plan has dropped among Republicans and independents - but has grown among Democrats.

The survey suggests that only one in five Americans think they and their families would be better off if health care reforms are passed into law. Nearly four in 10 say they'd be worse off, and four in 10 say things would be about the same. A slight majority say the current health care system makes them feel more secure, with 44 percent indicating they'd feel more secure with the changes proposed by the president. And a slight majority, 55 percent, say their health care costs will go up under the president's proposals. One in four say costs will remain the same, and one in five feel prices will go down.

But the vast majority of Americans think there should be some kind of changes made to the nation's health care system. According to the poll, 45 percent say a great deal of change is needed, and 46 percent feel only some changes are necessary. The 45 percent who say a great deal of change is needed is down 10 points from June. Nearly two-thirds say that problems with the country's health care system, if not addressed, will eventually affect most Americans.

On one of the most contentious points - a health insurance plan administered by the federal government that would compete with private health insurers - 55 percent say they support it when it is described as an option that the government would offer to the public. Most believe that Obama would eventually like to see the government run the health care system in this country.

Six in 10 people questioned say they understand most of the major points in Obama's reform proposals, with four in 10 saying they are confused.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted August 28-31, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. noel

    if healthcare is passed in its current form by the majority democrats, it will be the downfall of obama. it will do for him what the wars in iraq and afghanistan did for bush jr.

    September 2, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Idiot_Pelosi

    Yes, the OBAMA-ROBOTS want someone else to pay for their health care.

    What can't congress start with something simple like allowing insurance companies to COMPETE across state lines, drive competition and lower prices in the preferred Capitialistic method. Tha'ts step 1.

    Step 2 is to minimize the COST created by LAWYERS who sue everytime someone burps. It's called TORT reform.

    Bite off these 2 initiatives, you'll get bi-partisan (majority) support, and let this run for a fews years. CRAWL before you walk.

    September 2, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. CJ

    I say start from scratch and make it an American solution....not one borrowed from Europe and Canada!! Then again....that might not satisfy political agendas and would take some time and patience and debating and listening to the American electorate and its concerns (which is a tall order to the current bunch sitting in power!!)

    September 2, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. RealityKing

    "48 percent in favor of his plans and 51 percent opposed"

    Funny how CNN only uses the term "Majority of Americans" when its pro-agenda..

    September 2, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. aware

    Obama has totally lost credibility with his obfuscating sales pitches and actions that do not match his words! He is not authentic!

    It doesn't matter what he says from this point on. He is not trustworthy! :(

    September 2, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Michael Hsu

    After paying for medicare most of their working lives, it's time for seniors to reap the benefits of those payments – by getting health care from the medicare system. However, because it's bankrupt, it's time for the bait and switch – basically, "reset" the contributions made by seniors and make the younger generation pay into the newer obamacare system. Of course, the dirty secret is that when the younger generation grows old and will need to get treated by obamacare – guess what... "end of life counseling" (meaning, obamacare won't pay back its obligations to those who contributed financially to it).

    September 2, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. squaredge

    We need to outlaw lobbyists and shut insurance out of the health field entirely. Outlaw profit in health care. Health care should be completely and utterly socialized. Only then will we see real advances in health care. But this should not be a handout for foreigners.

    September 2, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Robert Kell

    We need health care !!!! I'm in the New York State Health Care System It's GREAT For some to say you don't need Health Insurance
    They must live under a ROCK , Very stupid Person .

    September 2, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  9. Independent

    I really wonder about these polls.... Everyone I know including myself are never polled....Why is that??????

    September 2, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. Peoples Voice

    Most of the ones who are opposed are old people who for some reason have decided to become very very stupid in their old age.

    Stop believing the lies, grandma.

    September 2, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. April in Texas

    I for one am strongly FOR health reform and would prefer a public option. I would be content with a single payer system if needed. We are without health care due to pre-conditions and with a recent disability the 2 yr wait between medicaid and medicare is a current killer to many. That would only apply to the disabled person though and not the entire family. We need health care reform and we need it NOW!

    September 2, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Pepou

    76% of Americans want health care reform. Period.

    September 2, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. jm for sc

    It is easy to say stop working on healthcare when you have health insurance.

    September 2, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. normajean

    It is difficult to take a stand on the Presidents health care plan because we haven't been given anything difinitive. There's been a lot of talk from all sides 'not to mention the "party of NO"...and while I am comfortable withMedicare, I worry about the people like my own family who have no health insurance at all. I question the people that don't want anything done, when there are so many citizens young and old without any medical coverage at all. They can't all show up at the Emergency Room if they get sick or hurt.I do think that the Democrats and the president are going to have to get something done quickly . They've been tossing it around too long.

    September 2, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Dump the public option, and something will be passed.

    September 2, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. BURNS-NH

    Just repair those things that are in need and do not destroy the main
    plan that we find good. The proposed new health plan is not welcome
    to any working american or our free society. Soc. sec. and medicare
    are fine so long as congress will stop pilfering from them. congress
    has a habit of getting a new plan for us all but has not the will to
    preserve any of them without raiding the bank.

    September 2, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Marilyn

    The President should hold a joint session of
    Congress during prime time and clearly state what his plan is. He should look the Republicans in the face of their lies over the summer and tell them to join in or move aside. They passed President Bush's plans with 50 votes and told the Democrats to forget it.
    The Democrats need to let their egos go and support the President; or they will be history. They won the election.

    The Republicans bigger goal is to make the President fail at passing a bill. That is all they want. Health care reform is just their platform to make the president look bad.

    Finally, a revolution,- there was a revolution on Nov. 3, 2008. Democracts won to pass health care and the republicans need to accept it. Congress needs to forgo their government subsidized health insurance and go without or pay COBRA rates like the rest of us. I bet they would go with reform.

    September 2, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    We cannot have healthcare reform until we have TORT REFORM, so that medical providers do not have to spend outrageous sums of money on insurance to protect themselves from frivulous lawsuits.......cost which then gets passed on to the patient. The reason the democrats never mention TORT REFORM is because the ambulance-chasing trial lawyers are one of their most generous contributors.

    And instead of turning to all-out socialism, how about increasing competition in the medical insurance business to drive down cost?....or would that make too much sense?

    September 2, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. Jimmy the Greek

    Americans want REFORM.... NOT a Takeover!!

    Allow us to shop across State Lines.

    Pass REAL tort reform.

    Allow individuals (similar professions) to pool together improving their buying power.

    THIS is called reform!

    Mandating everyone to buy insurance (Unconstitutional) or taking OVER with a public-option is NOT the answer.

    September 2, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Marilyn

    Where are these Christians for not denouncing that so called pastor for wanting to harm the President. That is a sin, illegal and racist. Why don't they say something? The first amendment does not allow dangerous talk about the president. Where are the law-abiding Christians on that. Hypocrites.

    September 2, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. Carlos Averhoff

    I think President Obama should take the issue, with HIS plan to the American people. He (Obama) allowed the ultra right wing and FOX television (they are NOT a news organiztion) to set the tone for the health care debate.
    He is too intelligent and smart politician to allow these right wing craizies to deny the American people needed health care reform!!

    September 2, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Hopeful Optimist

    It truly embarrasses me how utterly stupid, yes, I said DUMB, the majority of Americans are; especially when I realize the rest of the world is watching. It's like watching your kids make an ass of themselves in a public place when everyone is taking note.

    HealthCare as a subject is NOT that complicated. But you gotta pull your head outta your derriere for a few minutes and quit grazing. And as usual, the news media have sabotaged any semblance of intelligent coverage of a public option, so that's probably dead.

    September 2, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Kevin in Ohio

    Keep working at it..... but keep Pelosi and Reid's hands off!

    September 2, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  24. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    After all the sleazy twisting of the truth and lying in an effort to scare people out of wanting necessary reforms that will make the health care system better and the economy stronger, most Americans still want real health care reform...

    This has got to be bad news for the likes of Grassley and Enzi and all their Republican cohorts!

    President Obama,

    Be strong and courageous, AND GO TO WORK!

    September 2, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Cee

    Kill the Health Care Reform for NOW.
    WE (the People, legal citizens and TAX PAYERS ) NEED our (PEOPLE'S) OPINIONS and NEEDS – taken FIRSTand SERIOUSLY. NOT what obama wants. He is only looking out for himself and the FINANCIAL profits he will make from this four year term and maybe for another election!
    Like ALL POLITICIANS he is only out for himself and what he can get. This is a FACT.
    TAXPAYER's GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND AND PAY ATTENTION. WE ARE IN DEEP DEBT AND NOW OBAMA WANTS TO THROW YOUR FAMILIES UNDER THE BUS TOO. FOREVER. CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT HE'S DOING TO OUR ECONOMY? LOOK AND LISTEN – BEFORE IT'S TOOOOOOO LATE

    September 2, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
1 2 3