The whole may be greater than the sum of the parts, as the saying goes, but when it comes to healthcare reform it seems a lot of voters prefer the parts—thank you very much.
According to a Harris Poll conducted in late January, 49% of adults said they were opposed to the healthcare reform packages making their way through Congress. But when pollsters asked those same respondents their opinions on key elements in the bill, the majority favored eight of the nine proposals.
For example, 67% of people polled said they would support efforts to make healthcare costs and quality rankings more transparent. Seventy-six percent said they wanted legislation to standardize and simplify administration processes, and 75% thought that testing new ways to reimburse hospitals and doctors was a good idea.
Creating an insurance exchange where uninsured Americans could purchase affordable healthcare policies got the thumbs up from 73% of poll respondents, and even the highly controversial attempt to create a public insurance option was endorsed by 54% of those polled.
The one reform proposal most respondents—67%—oppose is a coverage mandate.
But while many American can agree that individual reform proposals are good ideas, most—particularly those without college degrees—saw healthcare reform as something that would benefit other people but not themselves.
They also believed reform would lead to higher taxes. Such concerns, real or imagined, could explain why more people favor the theory but not the reality of healthcare reform, according to the pollster.