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Unhealthy Debate

100 pedestrians polled about our national health-care battle.

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What do you think about the health-care debate right now?
I’m not really paying attention. . . . . 11
Obama must be stopped. . . . . 7
Reform is needed; opponents’ objections are scare tactics. . . . . 52
I’m paying attention, but I’m not sure exactly where I stand. . . . . 25

The anti-Obama protesters at “town hall” meetings …
Are totally justified. . . . . 5
Have a good point but express it in the wrong way. . . . . 35
Are wrong. . . . . 41
Are wrong because they’re being manipulated by a self-interested alliance of lobbyists and Republicans. . . . . 31
“They are scared and simple people.”
“They are making a bad name for those who have a right to oppose Congress’s policies.”

Should our government guarantee health insurance to all Americans who can’t afford it?
Yes. . . . . 88
No. . . . . 7
Don’t know. . . . . 4

Our current system …
Works for most people. . . . . 13
Doesn’t work for most people. . . . . 58
Is a total disaster. . . . . 21
Works for me. . . . . 5

Do you have health insurance?
Yes. . . . . 76
No. . . . . 22

If yes, who provides it?
Employer. . . . . 41
School. . . . . 6
Medicare/Medicaid. . . . . 5
I pay for it. . . . . 12
My family/parents pay for it. . . . . 12

What do you pay for it a month?
Don’t know; comes out of my salary. . . . . 20
$250 or less. . . . . 27
$251–$400. . . . . 9
$401–$600. . . . . 8
Over $600. . . . . 6

If you’re uninsured, what’s the biggest bill you’ve ever run up?
“$16,000, hospitalized for flu and MRSA infection.”
“$5,000 for a splint and X-rays.”
“$2,000, dental emergency.”

Which reforms do you support? (Choose as many as you like.)
Preventing insurance companies from dropping customers who have catastrophic illnesses. . . . . 69
Preventing insurers from denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions 61
Creating an insurance company run by the government to compete with private companies. . . . . 48
Providing families near the poverty line with vouchers to purchase health care. . . . . 47
Eliminating private insurance in favor of a system in which government insures all citizens. . . . . 42
Creating a government entity to act as a broker between insurance companies and individuals looking to purchase coverage. . . . . 18

Should Americans be required to buy health insurance, like residents of Massachusetts?
Yes. . . . . 31
No. . . . . 31
Don’t know. . . . . 36

Should we have, as in Britain, a national board that decides which treatments are cost-effective (and paid for by insurance) and which are not?
Yes. . . . . 34
No. . . . . 34
Don’t know. . . . . 27

Would you pay more in taxes to cover the uninsured?
Yes . . . . . 76
No . . . . . 20

Which country do you think has the best health-care system?
“France—I was treated there for free.”
“Britain.”
“Norway—ask a Norwegian.”
“Canada—it’s free!”
“Israel—everything is paid.”
“The Netherlands—government health care that isn’t Canadian.”
“Japan, because they actually reviewed all developed countries’ plans and chose the best from each.”
“Sweden.”
“The USA.”
“Australia.”
“Bhutan, maybe.”
“Europe.”

Obama’s plan is …
A socialist wealth transfer that will make things worse. . . . . 10
A shameful sellout to Big Insurance. . . . . 8
Not ideal, but okay. . . . . 57
Totally awesome! . . . . . 11
“Hillary’s was better.”

If you were at a health-care “town hall” with Obama, what question would you ask?
“Why are you afraid to press for a single-payer system?”
“What steps are you taking toward fixing the nursing shortage?”
“How much is this going to cost me personally?”
“Explain your plan like I was 5 years old.”
“Did your mother die indebted to insurance companies?”
“What plan do you have for freelancers?”
“Have you considered apathy?”


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