February 24th, 2010
07:26 PM ET

CNN Fact Check: Have Americans turned their backs on overhauling health care?

Matt Smith

The Obama administration's attempt to restart its push for an overhaul of the U.S. health insurance system Monday was met with an increasingly common refrain from congressional Republicans: Americans hate it.

The framework the White House laid out Monday is an effort to bridge the gap between bills the Senate and the House of Representatives passed last year.

But Republicans, who are preparing for a televised health care summit with President Barack Obama on Thursday, have urged Democrats to scrap both bills and start over.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the plan is "based on a partisan bill the American people have already rejected." His Senate
counterpart, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, said Democrats "either aren't
listening, or are completely ignoring what Americans across the country have been saying." And California Rep. Wally Herger, the ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said Obama "is continuing to ignore that the American people have fundamentally rejected this bill."

Fact Check: How popular are the health care bills?

- The top-line numbers on most polls bear out the GOP assertion. A new CNN poll, conducted by Opinion Research Corp. last week, found only 25 percent support for the bills currently before Congress. Other surveys taken recently show public opinion leaning against the proposed overhaul by spreads ranging from 3 to 19 percent.

- But when pollsters ask more detailed questions, some of the opposition turns out to come not from conservatives, but from liberals who consider the proposed legislation too timid. A CNN-Opinion Research poll in early January found that 45 percent of respondents opposed the bill because it was too liberal, while 10 percent said it wasn't liberal enough.

- Many of the provisions in the existing bills are extremely popular,
even among Republicans. While CNN's latest poll found Americans narrowly split on creating a government-run health plan that would compete with private insurers, 62 percent would bar insurers from dropping people who become seriously ill; 58 percent would keep them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions; and 72 percent said large and mid-sized companies should provide health insurance to employees.

- In the early January CNN poll, 61 percent said they would prefer the plan be paid for by taxes on wealthy Americans, as the bill that passed the House of Representatives would do. Only 29 percent supported the more conservative Senate bill's plan to tax high-end health insurance plans.

- In addition, a Newsweek poll published last week found that 49-40 percent opposition to the Obama plan became 48-43 percent support when respondents were told what the bill included. And an ABC News-Washington Post poll released February 10 found up to 80 percent support for one feature of the White House plan: Barring insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Bottom Line:

Polling suggests GOP leaders are technically correct in calling the health-care reform bills broadly unpopular. But more detailed surveys reveal individual elements of the proposed overhauls remain more popular than the idea of "reform" as a whole.

Got something that needs checking? E-mail us at factcheck@cnn.com

Filed under: Health Care • President Barack Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. mark

    Yes we do need help with health care, but only because hospitals and doctors are charging an arm and a leg for the smallest stuff.

    Answer this if you like Obama's plan: do you want the Government to be able to take money from your bank accounts as they feel, do you want them to tell you what treatment you can have, do you want them to say if you can have the treatment or not, if it is so good why don't they use it (pressedent, congres, etc) if passed you will see an influx of illegal imagrants just to get the FREE health care, oh I should say free to them because WE will for it, we will be taxed if we don't have good enough insurance acording to the Government, they can say no you can not have that insurance you must have what the government says you can have.

    They basicly WILL tell you if you die and when.

    I do not want the Government hovering over me 1440 seconds a day, telling me what care I need without seeing me.

    February 25, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  2. paul chomi

    The Blair House health summit is timely and a very effective strategy of Pres. Barack Obama to resolve all issues and finally passing the health care bill thru bipartisanship, but, if the Republican minority will only be there just to blocked and stand their ground without introducing a viable alternative to the bill, then by all means, JUST DO IT ! May GOD bless America ! SHALOM...

    February 25, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    The whole point of this article is correct there is so much that everyone agrees some of which are Democratic views and others Repubican ideas that if you put ideology aside amongst politicians there is a solution, on the assumption that as Republicans have said yes the current system is broken but:-
    a) We only want it changed our ideological way.
    b) Never mind if that only takes care of 3m max of the 31m-45m current uninsured voters.
    Both sides need a lesson in the art of compromise. What is on the table with some adjustments is good for the people. Most of my friends biggest problem is with the Nebraska and other pork but Obama has said thats out and wants some Republican ideas in the bill like liability caps and cross state competition.. Obama will give those, but not start over again that wastes 12 months of debate. And is just an obtuse way of saying NO again. if they believe it wins votes come November that is an illusion!!
    Irrespective of Brown.

    February 25, 2010 at 1:21 am |
  4. john Laforme

    The Health care Idea is one of the best a country can provide for it's people,It's wonderful to go to the hospital and have your health needs taken care of with out having to worry about how much it's going to cost you and if you can even afford to see a doctor, having no health coverage insurance is a good bet why so many people who don't see their doctors regularly go from having a minor illness to having a life threatening illness

    February 24, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  5. John Arnold

    Was just listening to Sanjay's report on medical care costs, as well as the report on Obama's upcoming summit. Although it's difficult to obtain unbiased information on the matter, it appears that the most scientifically defensible research points to a single-payer, non-profit system as being the most cost-effective and efficient system. Whether run by insurance companies (like in Germany) or by co-op or by the Government, "private" & "non-profit" seem to be the keys to cost reform and efficiency.

    Given the skyrocketing costs, it is remarkable to me that politics keeps this type of plan from being considered by either party. With respect to health care reform, it is even more remarkable that this story gets such relatively little press. Maybe Americans are simply turning their backs on hope in view of the success of those that profit from the current system.

    February 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  6. Moki, Tucson

    What the public has gone sour on is all the negativity being generated by the Republicans on Health Care Reform. It's like being stuck on an elevator with a crying kid–it's not pleasant for anybody.

    If we remove all the hysteria, cries of America becoming a "Socialist" country and all the whining and "Temper-Tantrum Politics" of the right, underneath there remains a solid foundation for reform. Count me in.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
  7. Lin

    I haven't turned my back and have already sent campaign donations to those Members of Congress who are in there fighting for health care reform and insurance for all!

    February 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    I'm very much in favor of preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Because of that practice some people stay in jobs that they would otherwise leave because they are afraid they can't get insurance anywhere else because of the pre-existing condition rule.

    February 24, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  9. Alex

    Affordable Healthcare can be receive by anyone, no one denied, all ongoing conditions accepted

    February 24, 2010 at 10:33 pm |
  10. Claudia Carroll

    I'm in favor, but nobody asked me! Who is being polled? And why, oh why, must the media drum up the most negative such as this one? "turning their back on..." and this..."broken government." We are, America, we the people, finally turning our faces TO implementing health care, beyond the humanitarian aspect of this, a absolutely necessary building block in the whole concept of a prospering America: health care, so that one isn't bankrupted by the insurance companies, and one's children can be cared for (no such thing when I was young and raising kids), and a job loss doesn't mean health care loss. Re "broken government..." and a "divided nation" – well, isn't that the nature of a two party system? Was the nation divided, or broken when Lincoln, or FDR were at the helm? There is too much of media "tail wagging the dog" going on. Give us real information, and stop, please, putting a negative spin on it all.
    Thanks... P.S. Missing Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta in Haiti!

    February 24, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  11. Tony In Largo

    I don't think Americans have turned their backs on Health Care Reform. They have simply grown tired of the stalling that has been brought about by the Republican stonewalling.

    Removing the antitrust exemption for health companies will be a start.

    No one knows if it would help or hurt until we try it. What we have now is not working. Prices have doubled in the past 15 years and are expected to increase 50% or more in the next 2 years, so why not?

    I believe it could help, after all, antitrust laws protect companies against law suits for colluding to fix prices, as far as I know. Ergo, if they can no longer fix prices, it'll probably bring on competition.

    Let's find out.

    February 24, 2010 at 9:28 pm |