December 06, 2018
*-- Poll: 57% believe government should ensure health insurance --*
A majority of Americans believe the U.S. government should ensure all citizens have health insurance but oppose a system run by the government, a Gallup survey released Monday said.
Fifty-seven percent of people believe the federal government should require everyone to have health insurance, up from 56 percent in 2017 but 12 percentage points lower than in 2006 before the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
A lower percentage of respondents, 40 percent, favor government-run healthcare compared with 54 percent who want a system based on private insurance. This question was first asked in 2010, after the enactment of ACA, or Obamacare, when a government-run method was favored by 34 percent. It had 47 percent approval in 2017.
"Although these sentiments largely reflect the original intentions of the ACA -- mandating health coverage for all while leaving the nuts and bolts of providing such coverage to the private insurance system -- support for that law is mixed," Gallup's Frank Newport wrote. "These views, along with the extraordinary contentiousness that has surrounded the ACA since its passage eight years ago, certainly indicate that the ACA has not been the widely accepted solution its supporters had envisioned, despite its broad fit with public ideas about the government's role in healthcare."
Eighty-five percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents believe the government should ensure healthcare, which is up 4 percentage points from last year. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, it's 27 percent compared with 22 percent in 2017.
A government-run healthcare system is favored by 65 percent among Democrats/leaners and 13 percent of Republicans/leaners.
"It is highly likely that the government's role in healthcare will be one of the major campaign issues facing presidential and congressional aspirants as the 2020 elections approach," Newport wrote.
In a Gallup survey released last week, Americans' approval of the ACA was at 48 percent, compared with a high of 56 percent in 2014. Opposition was 48 percent in the latest survey.
Health survey results are based on cellphone and landline telephone interviews conducted Nov. 1-11 with a random sample of 1,037 adults, aged 18 and older. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.
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