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Health Care Poll: Bill It To The Company

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This is not a horse race blog, so the Entrepreneurial Agenda has little to add to all the ink (and even more pixels) dedicated to analyzing the results from last night's primaries. (Except to say, we saw it coming this weekend -- if you don't believe us, ask our editor.) Instead, we'd like to direct your attention toward a different set of results: a survey released last Friday on attitudes toward health care reform suggests a consensus is emerging -- and it favors the proposals put out by the Democratic presidential candidates.

The poll, the work of the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Harvard School of Public Health, and National Public Radio, asked 1,704 adults for their reactions to the reform proposals put out by Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (still in the game!), and found that opinions about an individual mandate depended at least in part on how the questions were worded. Fifty-nine percent of respondents supported Hillary Clinton's plan, which includes the individual mandate, when informed that the plan also includes government assistance for those who need it, requirements on employers to play or pay, and increased government programs. Interestingly, when those features weren't mentioned, support for Clinton's plan dropped to just 47 percent. (That was still higher than the 44 percent who opposed it, but within the margin of error.) Meanwhile, 65 percent supported Barack Obama's proposal, which requires parents to buy insurance for their children, but not for themselves. (The plans were not identified by sponsor.)

The survey didn't ask how people would view these proposals if the increased government spending they required might raise taxes. But it did break the plans down into their individual components, and at least one conclusion will cause dismay among business groups such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses. When it comes to "requiring employers to offer health insurance to their workers, or pay money into a government pool that provides coverage for people who are not covered through their jobs," a whopping 76 offered their approval.

If there's a silver lining here for Republicans and their allies here, it may be that while 59 percent of Americans supported Hillary Clinton's plan, only 42 percent knew she had such a plan.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has the detailed results here, while NPR's story is available here.

Last updated: Mar 5, 2008




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