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. Sher, Or

    Those who have Healthcare and yet believe it should be denied to another U.S. citizen are the sickest of all people in this country! It can olny be diagnosed as one thing: Greedyitis! Sad.

    September 2, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. victim of republican greed

    I hope Fox entertainment and the republican party man up and take responsibilty for the failure of health care reform.

    September 2, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. GGG

    BLAH BLAH BLAH.... enough with the speeches can't you tell we are sick and tired of seeing and hearing you... GO to WORK!!!!

    September 2, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. disgusted

    I am ashamed of Obama and CNN.

    September 2, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Aaron

    President Obama and the Democratic Congress should continue to work on the details of H.R. 3200 and clearly articulate those details to the American public in language that ordinary people can understand. The process of dispelling myths and urban legends about healthcare reform must continue along with this process. The most important feature of the reform is the "Public Option" which must remain in the bill and must be robust and widely available to any and all Americans as a choice along with private medical insurance plans. The future of the country, the fortunes of the President and his party rest on his passage of this important bill.

    September 2, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. elliott

    KILL IT and start over.....

    September 2, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. William

    Obama Should give his dissenters or whiners the time of day. They are obviously ex-Palin supporters that are academiccaly challenged, gun toting, rural, religious zealots. They didn't vote for you so move on. It's time to pass health care reform with or without the Republicans. Remember Bush barely had a majority in the Senate and was able to shove legislation down the throats of the Democrats with or without their support. This is no time to waiver.

    September 2, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. TYG

    I wish the majority of Americans will stop fighting against themselves and enjoy some of the tax dollars they are robbed of that go into the system. Most Americans are so accustomed to oppression, depression; misery and watching the rich enjoy it all that they don't know how to accept when something is actually for them. These nut jobs talk about dictatorship, well are you letting the rich dictate to you what you shouldn't have? After all, the only ones that will lose are the companies that have robbed us for years. They can deny you coverage but can you get back every dollar you paid to them over the years to afford the coverage they refuse you? Of course not but again most Americans are so accustomed to getting robbed that you don't know how to appreciate someone attempting to give back to the tax payers for a change. Do you think the rich care about you? Heck no! They are too busy enjoying their million dollar mansions, lobster meals and hot vacations laughing at you stupid people fighting against yourselves! So void of knowledge, lack of knowledge will be the destruction of my people! What a crying shame!

    September 2, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. William

    Obama shouldn't give his dissenters or whiners the time of day. They are obviously ex-Palin supporters that are academiccaly challenged, gun toting, rural, religious zealots. They didn't vote for you so move on. It's time to pass health care reform with or without the Republicans. Remember Bush barely had a majority in the Senate and was able to shove legislation down the throats of the Democrats with or without their support. This is no time to waiver

    September 2, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Fan of Common Sense

    CNN, here's a mathmatics lesson for you: One in four Americans is only 25%. Not quite as impressive when it's said like that, now is it?;-)

    I think what this poll is really saying is that most Americans want the cost of healthcare to come down. (I'm one of them.) However, they are smart enough to know that a total government takeover and socialization of our healthcare system is NOT the answer.

    Most Americans, like myself, believe in capitalism and would like to try other things, such as increasing competition or tort reform........two things that the members of the Democratic Socialist Party of American never seem to want to discuss. (The trial lawyer lobby won't let them discuss the latter.)

    September 2, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Chris

    Who are they POLLING because I am definitely for it!!! I also don't think there is a need to start from scratch!! The real issue is getting the GOP to stop letting the Insurance lobbyist twist their arm and making them vote against it!!!
    Only a person who has money and the best insurance in the country would think reforming Healthcare was not the way to go.

    September 2, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. phyllis

    We need Health Care Reform, we can not wait any longer, this needed to be done years ago. What is wrong with the people of this Country, have they all lost their minds? It seems like we are living in the twlight zone, everyone is afraid of change, this is what we need is change, if we don't change our health care, we are all doomed. People wake up, don't live in the past, go foward to the future. Thank you

    September 2, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Farrell in Houston

    Let the big insurance CEO's step up and say they will not raise our rates or descriminate in their insurance practices. I haven't heard one word from any of the insurance company CEO's and no one is asking them questions.

    September 2, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. TCM

    Obama's flip-flop-flipped again about the public option; He's not to be trusted about anything! now he wants to "seize momentum..."
    One method he's trying is to preach to school kids....no thanks, OBama, I've seen your "guidance," capabilities...and they suck. I'll take care of my own kids, thank you.

    sounds more like he's genuinely running for his political life. He knows his socialist, flimsy, anti-American cover is blown, and true Americans are fed up with his crap. 2010 will bring an unslaught of conservatives to Congress. Too bad we can't get rid of him in 2010 as well!

    September 2, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Veto any bill without a strong public option Mr. President.

    September 2, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. EBJ

    one thing I wish that President Obama would do is to tell the American people what actually is IN the proposed bill and not just what is being fabricated. I keep reading that most people want a public option, yet I also keep seeing these folks at the town halls yealling that they don't want it. Yet they don't say why they don't want it. If most are like me I am confused by the whole thing and would like it all laid out where I can understand it.

    September 2, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    The 51% the opposes Reform health or The Public Option Plan,don't need lower insurance payment, never been to Emergency Room waiting for care, or need medcation, surgery and can't get it. President Obama said "IF YOU LIKE INSURANCE PLAN YOU GOT KEEP IT". But stand in the way who need a Health Care Plan, or just need help

    September 2, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  18. MCD, SF, CA

    We need to get away from "for-profit" healthcare. Millions are going to the top Execs of insurance companies.... that money has to be coming from premiums paid by the insured, money that is not being used for healthcare.

    We need a good single-payer, gov-run, or public plan... anything less will fail.

    If we can't pass a public option bill.... then we should consider extending medicare to cover anybody, at any age, who wants it.

    September 2, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Keeth in California

    Absolutely keep working. Keep on top of it. Don't let the GOP derail real reform again.

    September 2, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. victim of republican greed

    It is time for the Democratic party to give up on republicans. They opposed social security and it took over 40 years for the American public to give them a majority in the congress. The same will be true of health care. Fix it and it will be a long time before republicans become a serious threat to Democrats in congress.

    September 2, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. we believe in you mr. pres

    thank you and keep up the good work

    September 2, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. RealityKing

    "with six in 10 of the country's 18 to 34-year-olds in favor of Obama's plans"

    Of course..., nearly 40% of these dropped out of our progressively dumbed down public schools.

    September 2, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. panem et circenses, but CNN won't post

    51% opposed
    55 % say their health care costs will go up (landslide by Obamabot standards)
    20% think they would be better off if health care reforms are passed into law
    40% say they'd be worse off

    "Most believe that Obama would eventually like to see the government run the health care system in this country."

    That about says it all...

    September 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Alice, AR

    We desperately need Health Care Reform. Most of the comments on the blogs, I read , say the same thing. I want to know why our comments are not getting out there. Only comments from the opposition, which is strickly political, are being reported on. It is very frustrating!!

    The majority of the people at these Town Hall Meetings opposing health care reform, are senior citizens. Excuse me, but do they not have government run health care? Why do senior citizens have the right to basic health care in this country but not the rest of our citizens? This is discrimination at its worst.

    September 2, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Smurf

    They need to start over and come up with a viable plan to reduce costs.The public option plan is not going to work and be to costly.Congress needs to work with the insurance companies, hospitals and doctors to come up with a long term solution to the problem instead of bashing them. If you cut the amount doctors can earn do you think thee will be anyone going into that field? With the long hours, the years of schooling and the cost of the education I would think most of them would become a lawyer instead.Congress does not need to rush into something that will tear down the system we have now for the small per centage of people who do not have insurance now. Most of the people in congress know nothing about what they they are trying to write a plan for in the first place. It does not take much brain power to be a politician, just smooth talk.

    September 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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