As August heated up, opposition to a health-care overhaul hit the boiling point. But a September poll taking the public's temperature on the administration's plan to remake the health system show tempers may be cooling and that support for action is on the rise.
How do you feel about health overhaul?
The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group, has surveyed a nationally representative random sampling of Americans six times since February on healthcare issues. The latest results, from polling during the week ended Sept. 18, show President Obama's luck may be turning.
One feeling that has eased for Republicans is the belief that their families would be "worse off if the president and Congress passed health care reform," Kaiser said. The September poll shows about half of Republicans feel this way, that's down from 61 percent in August. Overall, only 23 percent of respondents believe they would be worse off —down from 31 percent in August.
The biggest change in attitude since August is an 8 percentage-point increase to 53 percent of those who say "the country would be better off with reform." As for timing, 57 percent say they want action now, while 39 percent say that we cannot afford to take this on presently, those numbers have stayed fairly stable since February.
The results show that hot-button topics such as a public option, expanding Medicare, and an individual mandate are supported by solid majorities. Seventy percent of those polled favored expanding Medicare coverage to all uninsured 55 to 64-year-olds. Sixty-eight percent supported an individual mandate requiring all Americans to have insurance. And nearly 60 percent of all Americans polled supported a public option.
A litmus test for health change: 56 percent of Americans say they have put off care in the last year because they couldn't pay for it.