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Americans Accepting Health Reform More

Jan 30th, 2012

health reformA recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive/Health Day found that Americans are starting to accept some key elements of President Barack Obama’s controversial health care reform act.

Thirty-six percent of adults want the law repealed and 21% want it to remain unchanged. The poll also found that 25% would like to see certain components modified.

“Americans are still divided, primarily on partisan lines, as to whether to repeal or implement the health care reform law in full, in part, or none at all,” according to Humphrey Taylor, head of Harris Interactive Poll Chairman.

Support for the law is clearly determined by party affiliation. About 63% of Republicans said they wanted the new law repealed, while only 9% of Democrats want the same thing.

Despite being divided about the law as a whole, many Americans support key components of the bill, according to Taylor. However, the individual mandate, which requires all adults to purchase health insurance still remains unpopular.

Over time, support for certain elements seems to be slowly on the rise. For instance, back in 2010, 64% supported the provision that would prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to those who have any preexisting condition; by the end of 2011, 71% support this provision.

Some provisions which are steadily gaining support include:

  • children up to 26 years old can remain under their parents’ insurance plans.
  • the creation of insurance exchanges, which makes it easier for Americans to purchase insurance.
  • giving tax credits to small businesses in order to pay for employees’ insurance.
  • employers with at least 50 employees should provide their employees’ with health insurance or face penalties.
  • conducting research to measure the effectiveness of various treatments.
  • forming a new Independent Payment Advisory Board to monitor and limit Medicare spending.

However, only 19% support the controversial individual mandate, a provision of the law which requires all adults to get health insurance coverage or pay a fine.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the health care reform law’s constitutionality in late March.

“Some provisions included in the Affordable Care Act are clearly appreciated by Americans and knowing the key reforms in the legislation is important,” according to Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a group advocating quality and affordable health insurance for all Americans.

Previous polls have shown that many people do not know exactly what is in the law, according to the polls.

“Most people still do not understand what the health reform bill really is,” said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a group that supports private alternatives to government regulation and control. “This is a result of the failure of the bills authors, critics, and health care media. Nobody took the time to explain exactly how the bill works.”

About 55% of those polled think that health care reforms should be handled separately by each state. The rest think that it should be done at the federal level.

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