Health care security trumps federal tax cuts

Survey results demonstrate just how important a topic universal health care and coverage is to the majority of Americans. “The Affordability Crisis in U.S. Health Care: Findings From the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey” reports that more than 3 out of 5 adults (62 percent) say they would be willing to give up the entire recent federal tax cut to help guarantee health insurance security for everyone. When people were asked whether they would favor capping the tax cut at $1,000 per person and using the balance for improving health insurance security, support climbed to 69 percent. Majorities of Americans in all income groups, including those with incomes exceeding $100,000, supported a full or partial repeal to enhance coverage. Support for repeal was highest among adults from lower- and middle-income households, according to the report.

In the same survey, when asked whether individuals, employers, or the government should bear the costs of health insurance, or if all three parties should share costs, nearly 6 of 10 respondents (59 percent) said that costs should be shared.

The Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey was conducted from September 2003 to January 2004. The survey finds widespread support for federal efforts to extend health insurance to more people, as well as a widely held belief that the financing of health care should continue to be a shared responsibility among individuals, employers, and the government.

Republicans and Democrats differed. More than three-quarters of Democrats (77 percent) would favor rolling back the full tax cut, compared with 43 percent of Republicans. Overall, 57 percent of survey respondents said that presidential and congressional candidates’ views on health reform would be a “very important” factor in their vote in the upcoming November elections.

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