President Obama told the nation last week that health care reform is one of the top three priorities of his administration, but 49% of U.S. voters say the president should wait until the economy improves before moving forward on the health care front.
Forty-two percent (42%) believe Obama should go ahead with health care reform now, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Ten percent (10%) are not sure what Obama should do.
Sixty-six percent (66%) of Democrats believe the president should move ahead now, but 72% of Republicans and 57% of voters not affiliated with either party say Obama should wait until the economy improves.
Seventy-eight percent (78%) of voters acknowledge, however, that reining in health spending is at least somewhat important to improving the nationís economy. That includes 46% who say it is Very Important.
During his campaign for the presidency, Obama promised if elected that he would reduce the number of Americans who do not have health insurance, improve the overall quality of health care in this country and save the typical family $2,500 per year in medical costs. Forty-four percent (44%) of voters say the president is at least somewhat likely to achieve all three of these goals. Seventeen percent (17%) say Obama is Very Likely to accomplish all three, but 24% say he is not at all likely to do so.
Fifty percent (50%) of voters say reducing the number of uninsured Americans is the health care goal the president is most likely to achieve. Seventeen percent (17%) predict he is most likely to improve the quality of health care, while 16% say saving the typical family $2,500 a year in health-related costs is the most achievable. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.
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While half expect the president to be able to reduce the number of those without health insurance, just 41% say it is possible to provide health insurance for everyone. Forty-nine percent (49%) disagree and say it is not.
Two-thirds of Democrats (66%) say it is possible to insure everyone, a view shared by 33% of unaffiliated voters and 19% of Republicans. Sixty-nine percent (69%) of GOP voters and 60% of unaffiliateds do not believe it is possible to provide health insurance for everyone, but just 23% of Democrats agree.
Perhaps due to economic conditions, the current figures show a significant decline in the number who believe it is possible to provide insurance for everyone. In early December, 49% said that goal was possible to achieve.
In a survey taken following the presidentís speech last Tuesday night, health care placed second only to deficit reduction in terms to the publicís top priorities. Twice as many felt deficit reduction should be his top goal, although voters said it was the one he was least likely to accomplish.
The Obama Administration is considering the establishment of a government-run health insurance program to make sure that most people are insured. But 43% of voters say the quality of health care in America will get worse if a government-run health insurance plan is created to compete with private plans.
Forty-six percent (46%) also believe that lawsuits play a Very Significant role in the rising cost of health care, but Obama is not expected to push tort reform because of the heavy support trial lawyers give the Democratic Party.