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Aspen Institute/Zogby Poll: 42% Favor Higher Taxes to Fund Health Coverage for All

Published 10-03-07

Submitted by Aspen Institute

UTICA, NEW YORK - October 3, 2007 - Nearly half (42%) of Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes for everyone to have health insurance, a new Aspen Institute/Zogby Poll shows. When asked if they would be willing to pay higher taxes so that all children could have health insurance, 51% of Americans said they would, with those with lower household incomes showing the most support.

Slightly more than half of American adults (53%) believe the U.S. government should ensure that every person has health coverage, but support jumps to 76% among those with less than $25,000 in household income.

These poorest Americans are also most likely to say they would personally be willing to pay higher taxes (61%), however support for higher taxes to fund health insurance for everyone drops significantly among those with higher household incomes. Just 38% of those with more than $75,000 in household income would be willing to pay higher taxes if the government were to provide everyone with health coverage.

Despite showing the least support for health insurance for all Americans and higher taxes to fund the coverage, 14% of those with more than $100,000 in household income said they have been unable to get the medical care that was needed for themselves or their family, the survey shows. The interactive survey of 1,941 adults nationwide was conducted from Sept. 25-26, 2007, and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percentage points.

While nearly all Democrats (92%) said they favor health care for all, far fewer independents (52%) and Republicans (14%) said the same. Similar division among political affiliation was found when asked about the willingness to pay higher taxes to fund the coverage. More than three in four (79%) of Democrats would be willing to do so if everyone was covered, and even more (83%) would pay higher taxes if all children had health insurance. Just 8% of Republicans said the same regarding health coverage for all, but 21% would be willing to pay higher taxes if it would ensure all children had health insurance.

The survey also shows significant political division on several health policy issues. Overall, 64% said they favor medical research using embryonic stem cells "“ a practice nearly all Democrats favor (93%), but that independents (61%) and Republicans (35%) are less likely to support. More than half (53%) of Americans favor federal government funding for embryonic stem cell research, with Democrats showing the most support (88%) and Republicans (20%) significantly less. Democrats (63%) are also more likely than independents (38%) or Republicans (34%) to support requiring human papillomavirus immunization for girls. Republicans (84%) are more likely than independents (74%) or Democrats (69%) to believe the government should have the power to restrict the movement of patients with contagious diseases.

The survey also focused on the personal actions Americans take with regard to their health, and finds that nearly two in three (64%) have tried to lose weight in the last year and even more (76%) would like to lose weight. Seventy-five percent said maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is an important priority. Nearly three quarters of respondents (72%) take some action for stress relief, with the most popular techniques being exercise (44%), spending time with a pet (25%), listening to music (24%) and meditation (16%).

Other findings from the survey include:

  • One in four (25%) said they believe they will live to be older than age 90. The plurality (41%) see themselves living between 80 and 90 years, however 28% do not believe they will live to see their 80th birthday.
  • More than half of all respondents (56%) have signed up to be organ or tissue donors. Of the 43% who are not, one-third (32%) are not comfortable donating organs, 21% have never considered it, 13% say they will but have not signed the card and 11% report being medically ineligible.
  • Nearly half of all respondents (46%) cite obesity as the number one health issue facing Americans today. Cancer ranks second with approximately one-quarter of respondents (23%), while just 12% said heart disease is the most significant health issue in America.

    For a detailed methodological statement on this survey, please visit:
    www.zogby.com/methodology/readmeth.dbm?ID=1217

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    Aspen Institute

    Aspen Institute

    The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org or follow on Twitter @AspenInstitute.

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