Published September 17, 2009
Most Americans see no upside for their family in the health care reforms being considered in Washington and don't believe President Obama when he says his plan won't add "one dime" to the federal deficit. The majority of Americans believe they will have to make changes to their health care coverage if the president's plan is passed.
These are just some of the findings of a new FOX News poll released Thursday.
More Americans would rather Congress do nothing than pass Obama's plan: 46 percent to 37 percent of people polled say they prefer the current health care system to the one the president has proposed.
Similarly, more people oppose — 48 percent — the health care reform legislation being considered right now than favor it — 38 percent. While most Democrats — 65 percent — favor the reforms, majorities of Republicans — 79 percent — and independents (55 percent) oppose them.
This is not surprising given less than one in four Americans (22 percent) think they would be better off under the reforms, and many (60 percent) think they will probably have to make changes to their health coverage despite Obama's assurances that they will not have to. In addition, a sizable majority (67 percent) thinks the president's plan will increase the national deficit.
By more than three-to-one, Americans say if they were sick they would rather be covered by a privately-run health insurance plan (62 percent) than a government-run plan (20 percent).
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from Sept. 15 to 16. The poll has a 3-point margin of error.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., introduced a health care bill on Sept. 16 that does not include a government-run health insurance option (or "public option") to compete with private health insurance companies. Critics of the public option insist the idea is to move the country closer to a government-run system by forcing private insurers out of business. The public is divided on whether passage of a so-called "public plan" would eventually put private health insurance companies out of business: 52 percent think it would, while 41 percent disagree.
Baucus' proposal requires all individuals to buy health insurance. Some 42 percent of Americans agree with this proposal, while a 54-percent majority disagrees and thinks the government should not be able to require even those Americans who can afford it to have health insurance.
Obama's Job Performance
Overall, 54 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president — up one point from last month.
Slightly more people disapprove than approve of the president's handling of health care: 44 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove. To give this some perspective, Obama gets better ratings on his handling of the economy (55 percent approve) and Afghanistan (51 percent).
A 57 percent majority of Americans think the president should be spending more time right now fixing the economy — that's three times as many as say he should be working on reforming health care (19 percent).