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Who Supports Health Reform?

  • David W. Brady (a1) and Daniel P. Kessler (a1)

In this article, we report results from a new study that surveyed a large, national sample of American adults about their willingness to pay for health reform. As in previous work, we find that self-identified Republicans, older Americans, and high-income Americans are less supportive of reform. However, these basic findings mask three important features of public opinion. First, income has a substantial effect on support for reform, even holding political affiliation constant. Indeed, income is the most important determinant of support for reform. Second, the negative effects of income on support for reform begin early in the income distribution, at annual family income levels of $25,000 to $50,000. Third, although older Americans have a less favorable view of reform than the young, much of their opposition is due to dislike of large policy changes than to reform per se.

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Balz, Dan, and Cohen, Jon. 2009. “Public Option Gains Support: Clear Majority Now Backs Plan; Americans Still Divided on Overall Packages.” Washington Post, October 20.
Centers for Medicare, and Medicaid Services. 2007. “National Health Expenditure Projections 2007–2017: Forecast Summary.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Proctor, Bernadette D., and Smith, Jessica C.. 2009. “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008.” U.S. Census Bureau.
Gruber, Jonathan. 2008. “Covering the Uninsured.” Journal of Economic Literature 46 (3): 571606.
Kessler, Daniel, and Brady, David. 2009. “Putting the Public's Money Where Its Mouth Is.” Health Affairs 28 (5): 917–25.
Rasmussen Reports. 2009. “Support for Congressional Health Care Reform Falls to New Low.” August 11.
Saad, Lydia. 2009a. “Americans Still Sharply Divided on Healthcare Reform.” Gallup, September 8.
Saad, Lydia. 2009b. “On Healthcare, Americans Trust Obama More than Congress.” Gallup, October 28.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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