Washington, D.C. (Vocus) September 19, 2009
The current health care debate may divide many Americans and congress, but not values voters, who tend to agree on many key health care reform issues. A recent Zogby International/O’Leary Report Poll shows that a strong majority of American voters who attend church weekly agree that government health care programs should not cover abortions and should not interfere with the doctor-patient relationship when it comes to “end of life” counseling.
Values voters also strongly object to taxing health care benefits, and strongly support tort reform and permitting Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines.
“There are many moral implications surrounding health care reform,” said Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus on the Family Action, which introduced the report’s findings to attendees at the 2009 Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C.
“Whether it’s abortion, taxes, or rationing health care away from the elderly, values voters recognize these moral implications and are clearly troubled by – and committed to doing something about – them.”
The Zogby/O’Leary Poll surveyed 4,426 likely voters on September 4-8 and has a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points. The results below show where weekly church-goers stand on several critical health care reform issues.
1. Health care legislation being promoted by the White House and leaders in congress does not include a ban on abortions being covered under the taxpayer-funded and government-run “public option” insurance plan. Would you support or oppose an amendment attached to any federal health care bill that clearly bans federal tax dollars from being used to fund abortions?
Not Sure 6.0%
2. Would you support or oppose a provision that banned the government or insurance companies from considering a patient’s age or life-expectancy when deciding whether or not to cover certain medical procedures?
Not Sure 5.2%
3. It is estimated that 10 million Americans, 3.3 percent of the U.S. population, are too poor to afford health insurance, yet their income levels are high enough to disqualify them from government-provided health care programs like Medicaid. Should health care reform focus on providing coverage for this 3.3 percent of Americans, or should congress overhaul the entire U.S. health care system?
Cover 3.3 percent 48.5%
Overhaul entire system 27.4%
Something else 20.9%
Not sure 3.2%
4. With which statement do you agree?
Statement A: Expanding government's role in health care is necessary to control costs and expand coverage.
Statement B: Expanding government's role in health care will do more harm than good?
Statement A 32.3%
Statement B 62.1%
Not Sure 3.8%
5. Do you agree or disagree that the federal government should require all Americans to purchase health insurance, or face a fine?
Not sure 8.7%
6. Do you support or oppose a government-run health care system, or “single-payer” system, where the federal government pays for and provides health care for all Americans?
Not sure 2.5%
7. President Obama is promoting a new government agency called the “Independent Medicare Advisory Council,” and some people believe this agency should use its powers to deny payment for procedures it deems unnecessary or futile. Others say that such power would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Do you support or oppose the creation of an “Independent Medicare Advisory Council?”
Not sure 10.1%
8. Currently, medical malpractice insurance costs doctors in some areas of the country up to $200,000 per year, a cost that doctors pass on to their patients in the form of higher fees for service. Do you agree or disagree that tort reform is needed?
Not sure 6.5%
9. Do you support or oppose taxing employer-provided health care benefits?
Not sure 7.4%
10. Currently, Americans may only purchase health insurance from a provider licensed in their state. Some say that Americans should be allowed to purchase health insurance from providers in different states, possibly creating more competition and driving down the price of health insurance. Do you agree or disagree?
Not sure 8.2%
11. There are currently 26 million Americans age 18 and older who can afford to purchase health insurance, but choose not to purchase it for a variety of reasons. There are also 12 million illegal immigrants in America who lack health insurance. Do you think taxes should be raised to fund a government-run health insurance program for these people?
Not sure 5.2%
12. Some in congress would like to institute a five percent surtax on people who make more than $1 million per year in order to pay for health reform. This tax, combined with others, would raise the top marginal tax rate to over 50 percent in 39 states. Opponents of this surtax say that this tax will hit job producers the most, and slow economic recovery. Proponents of the surtax say that it is needed to cover the cost of providing health insurance to everyone in the U.S. Do you agree or disagree with taxing millionaires an additional five percent to pay for a new health care system?
Not sure 7.4%
13. Should President Obama and congress add to the deficit by overhauling our health care system, or should they lower the deficit first before they consider a $1 trillion health care overhaul?
Add to deficit 20.8%
Lower deficit first 54.9%
Something else 20.9%
Not Sure 3.4%
“Many Americans may be divided on health care reform, but the division is not so much along political party lines,” said O’Leary Report publisher Brad O’Leary. “Rather, the health care debate is about competing values and beliefs that transcend party politics. This poll suggests that values voters, in general, place great importance on the value of the individual, the dignity of human life and the moral right to keep what one earns.”
Brad O’Leary is publisher of “The O’Leary Report.” To see more poll results, go to http://www.OlearyReport.com.
Tom Minnery is senior vice president of Focus on the Family Action. To learn more, go to http://www.citizenlink.com.