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

CNN Poll: Keep working on health care reform

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caption="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. Robert jay

    Since the free market cannot behave maturily and be trustworthy a change must occur in our health care.We must force competition and honesty
    We cannot remain status quo and expect thta evreyone can be taken care of by a greedy free rein system. In time the insurance and medical industries will simply bankrupt this country and even rich people will not be able to afford health care!

    September 2, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Obama -Care 4 all: change you better beleive in

    Mr. President, we need reform regardless of all the crazy talk out their. Please take charge of the bill because congress lacks the leadership need to get the job done.

    September 2, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. Ticker Shock

    Toughen up Mr. President! I voted for you because you promised health care reform. Single payer is my personal choice.

    September 2, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Dean

    Of the 25% who want the health plan passed as is, I wonder how many have read the bill.
    And of those who have read it, how can the parts about annual limits on benefits and diagnostic testings be ignored.
    For those who want the bill, take a look at how the governmnet has totally destroyed social security by raiding the social security funds to pay for their foolish spending. Also take a look at the post office and the veteran hospitals for other examples of how efficient the government is at running things.

    September 2, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. BOb


    Tort lawsuits only account for 2% of health care cost. Try somethign else.

    September 2, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. IndyVoter

    While I am always happy to hear what our President has to say, I wish someone would remind Congress and educate Americans that it is CONGRESS's responsibility to write the laws of the land…NOT the President. His role according to the constitution is to advise the Congress as to what the American people want but beyond that its Congress's job to do it. They are always screaming about the President having too much power and yelling that the Congress is CO-EQUAL with the President. But when it comes to the HARD WORK of creating controversial legislation, they try to push it off on the President to try to cover their butts. DO YOUR JOB CONGRESS and get a good health care bill done!!!

    September 2, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Mike in MN

    That's right, keep working tell they get it right. None of the bills are worth passing as they stand now. Listen to the people Congress, not the far left of the Democratic party.

    September 2, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    President Obama,

    Be strong and courageous, AND GO TO WORK!

    After all of the Reckless Right's 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.

    Please listen to Pelosi about the public option. Anything less won't get costs under control.

    September 2, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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