CHICAGO — A new poll released by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that Colorado voters have a low opinion of the House-passed health system reform bill and are strongly opposed to numerous provisions of the health system reform bill currently being considered by the Senate. The poll also shows strong support for Medicaid and overwhelming opposition to reducing spending on the program — as the House and Senate bills would do.
While the House and Senate bills target the growth of Medicaid, respondents overwhelmingly view the program favorably (59 percent) or neutral (17 percent). Only 13 percent of voters view it unfavorably. Additionally, although both the House and Senate health reform bills would roll back Medicaid expansion and cut Medicaid spending, 36 percent of respondents want to increase Medicaid funding, 40 percent want funding levels to remain unchanged, and only 10 percent want it decreased.
Reflecting the wide range of Americans covered by Medicaid and the large role it plays in insuring the sick, elderly and children, 45 percent of respondents said either they themselves, someone in their household or someone they know is covered by Medicaid.
“If either of the health reform bills in Congress were to become law, not only would millions of Americans lose their insurance coverage, but many more would have higher — perhaps unaffordable — deductibles and copayments that will discourage them from seeking the care they need,” said AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D. “This poll of Coloradans shows that the proposed Medicaid cuts hit home and imperil access to care. Coloradans are not only overwhelmingly opposed to the current reform proposals, but they are opposed to many of the major provisions on which they are built. Both the Senate and House bills as currently drafted violate the important principle ‘first, do no harm.’ It is clear that changes are needed to our health system and that a bipartisan approach is necessary to achieve those results. Colorado voters agree that the proposals currently before Congress are a massive step in the wrong direction.”
Below are additional findings regarding provisions of health system reform proposals:
- Respondents overwhelmingly support (77 percent) allowing insurance to be bought across state lines;
- The poll shows that 46 percent of registered voters oppose cuts to the federal funding that states receive under the ACA to expand their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income adults who were uninsured. Forty percent support this;
- Fifty percent of respondents oppose eliminating the ACA requirement that all health plans sold must provide a standard set of government-established benefits, including mental health services, addiction treatment, maternity care, and that provides preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs. Forty-one percent support the change;
- Coloradans strongly oppose (57 percent to 35 percent) a change to the ACA that would allow insurance companies to charge consumers higher rates if they have pre-existing conditions and allowed their coverage to lapse.
- About half of the respondents (50 percent) oppose eliminating the money that the federal government pays to health insurance companies to provide lower deductibles and lower out-of-pocket health care costs for low-income people. The poll shows that 37 percent support it.
The poll shows nearly half of respondents (47 percent) believe the ACA is a good idea, while 36 percent believe it is a bad idea, and 16 percent do not have an opinion. In contrast, a majority (58 percent) of voters think the House bill is a bad idea, only 17 percent say it’s a good idea, and 23 percent do not have an opinion. A majority of Colorado voters (62 percent) want the Senate to either make major changes to the House bill before passing it (23 percent) or think the Senate should not pass any part of the House legislation (39 percent) — an outcome that would leave the Affordable Care Act (ACA) intact.
Yesterday, the AMA expressed its opposition to the Senate’s proposed health care bill based on its health system reform objectives — primary among them that people who currently have insurance, including Medicaid coverage, should not become uninsured.
Public Opinion Strategies conducted the statewide telephone survey of 500 registered voters. The sample was drawn from the voter file proportional to the statewide registered voter population. The survey was conducted June 15-20, and has a margin of error of +4.38 percent. Complete interview schedules are available here.
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The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care. The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.