Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AARP Poll: Americans want reform

A new poll by the AARP shows some encouraging trends with regards to health care reform in the United States.

More than half of all Americans (56 percent) believe that "it is more important than ever to take on health care reform" right now, versus 32 percent who believe that we cannot afford to take it on right now.

Most Americans, however, don't want to pay higher taxes for such reform (64 percent). Despite this finding, there's a silver lining -- under the proposals for reform the Democrats have crafted, only the top two percent of Americans would actually have to pay higher taxes for reform.

And if nearly two-thirds don't want to pay higher taxes, nearly three-fourths (74 percent) don't want to pay higher premiums among those who already have private health insurance.

86 percent of all Americans believe that "insurance should be available to everyone regardless of health history" (that is, they want pre-existing conditions to go away), a key selling point in the health care reform bill.

72 percent of Americans support "limiting the deductions that higher-income people can claim on their income tax returns" in order to fund health care improvements, a strong signal that Americans support higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for such reform.

However, there is troubling news as well. Most Americans couldn't correctly identify (even when given a choice between three options) what was meant by the "public option." Only 37 percent could correctly identify what it really was.

Still, the poll should be seen as a positive sign for health care reform proponents. That more Americans want reform -- despite more Americans starting to believe the falsehoods that right-wing liars have spread -- speaks volumes.

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