NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Health Insurance Polls High Among Voters

June 3, 2003

Republicans appear unwilling to cede leadership on the health care issue to Democrats. To meet the challenge, President Bush has offered a proposal to help the uninsured with tax credits and has separate proposals to address Medicare and Medicaid.

Unfortunately, the confluence of rising costs and an economic downturn are aggravating the problem. Employers under economic duress hardly have the resources to absorb higher health care bills.

"It has become more and more expensive," explains John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis. "What is driving the Democrats is they are doing polling and it (health care) is scoring high."

  • Health care scores especially high among women voters who alternate between Democratic and Republican candidates.
  • Experts say the insurance issue also resonates in middle-class homes with likely voters who lose their benefits when companies cut them loose.

The economic impetus may be simple, but finding a proposal that wins politically and works economically has proven vexing.

  • Goodman proposes that companies provide workers a defined sum to spend on buying health insurance.
  • Employees would then exert free-market pressures on health care providers as they shopped for the best plan for their money.

"Our polling and our focus groups tell us there is a real opportunity for a candidate that has a vision and has a reasonable way to achieve the goal," he said. He's hoping President Bush, who as Texas governor sought his advice, is still listening.

Source: Robert Dodge, "Health care becoming a hot political topic again," Dallas Morning News, June 2, 2003.


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