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The healthcare reform disconnect

November 17, 2009 | 12:22 pm

Associated Press, healthcare reform, taxes A new Associated Press poll, done by Stanford University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides more evidence that the public wants comprehensive healthcare reform but rejects just about everything that implies. Although you should take a moment to look at all the results -- and comment on them below! -- here's a quick summary.

As shown in the screen shot to the right, people are eager for major improvements to the healthcare system. They want someone else to pay for the changes, however. AP survey 2

In particular, they strongly oppose raising income taxes or taxing health insurance benefits, but almost 60% favor dunning the rich. They like the idea of requiring everyone to obtain insurance, but they hate the idea of financial penalties on those who don't. Similarly, they want a mandate on businesses to provide insurance, but are lukewarm about enforcing it. Finally, more than 70% said insurers are too profitable and medicines too expensive, but most opposed raising taxes on them, drug companies or medical device makers.

My interpretation: the survey is yet another indication that the Obama administration and congressional Democrats haven't persuaded Americans, most of whom have health insurance and aren't seriously ill, that the proposed reform will benefit them, too. Not convinced that they have much to gain personally, they're not willing to pay more to achieve it.

About 1,500 randomly selected adults were surveyed, giving the poll a margin of error of  plus/minus 2.5%.

-- Jon Healey

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