Thomson Reuters survey: Most Americans support public option in healthcare-reform legislation

12/3/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich. A majority of Americans support a "public option" in healthcare-reform legislation, but most lack confidence that the cost, quality, value or accessibility of medical care will improve in the next year, according to a survey released Thursday by Thomson Reuters.

Sixty percent of survey respondents said they believe a public option should be included in final healthcare-reform legislation. Only about 1-in-5, however, believes the cost, quality or value of care will improve in the next 12 months. Twenty-three percent said they expect access to care to improve.

The results are from a telephone survey of 2,999 households conducted from Nov. 9 to Nov. 17 -- a segment of the Thomson Reuters PULSE Healthcare Survey, the largest and longest-running survey of its kind. Each year, PULSE polls more than 100,000 U.S. households about healthcare behaviors, attitudes and utilization.

Key findings included:

  • 18% of survey respondents said they expect to spend less on healthcare a year from now.
  • 21% believe the quality of care will improve in the next 12 months.
  • 18% believe the value of care delivered will be better in a year.
  • 23% believe it will be easier for people to receive the care they need a year from now.
  • 60% of Americans believe a public option should be included in final healthcare legislation. There are sharp divisions, however, along party lines: 86% of Democrats support the public option versus 57% of Independents and 33% of Republicans.

The survey is nationally representative and the margin of error is 1.8%.

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