While a majority of Americans still think health-care reform is needed now, some of that support has wavered slightly as Congress wrestles with the details of producing a reform package, according to the July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.
Fifty-six percent of Americans continue to believe that health reform is more important than ever, despite the country's economic problems. And by a better than two-to-one margin (51 percent to 23 percent), Americans think the country would be better off if Congress and President Barack Obama enacted health reform, the poll found.
But concerns raised during the Congressional debate appear to be influencing some people's views. For instance, a larger share of the public is more worried that Congress and the president will pass a bill that's bad for their family (54 percent) than that health-care reform won't happen this year (39 percent). And while a majority of Americans still favor reform now, the percentage of people who hold that view has dropped from 61 percent to 56 percent since June, the poll found.
The proportion of people who say passage of health-care reform would make things worse for their own family, although relatively small, has doubled since February (from 11 percent to 21 percent), as has the proportion of Americans who say the country would be worse off if health-care reform passed -- from 12 percent to 23 percent, according to the poll.
And while the estimated $1 trillion price tag over 10 years for health-care reform has been a sticking point for many in Congress, it seems to be a little less worrisome for those polled. When asked if $1 trillion was too high, too little, or about right, 42 percent said it was too high, 36 percent said it was the right amount, and 9 percent said it was too little.
The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit foundation, based in Menlo Park, Calif., that produces analysis and information on health issues.