Americans disagree on improving health insurance and healthcare

Separate polls released this week show that Americans agree that the spiraling costs of healthcare are a problem but disagree on the best ways of paying for health insurance reform.

A poll conducted by Stanford University for the Associated Press says that a majority of people support taxing the rich to pay for better health insurance coverage, but a Washington Post poll shows that 39 percent of insured people think reform would make their coverage worse.

And, in the AP poll, 49 percent of respondents expect the costs of their health insurance coverage to increase after a reform bill is passed. Fifty-two percent of Post poll respondents agree.

One reason could be the taxes on expensive "Cadillac" insurance plans, a linchpin of the Senate proposal being debated. Participants in the AP poll showed a marked distaste for Cadillac plan taxes imposed on insurers; experts agree that the taxes would likely be passed down to consumers in the form of higher premiums.

Nevertheless, the AP report says, analysts suggest that taxes on expensive health insurance plans are one of the few ways to lower healthcare costs.

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Posted: November 17, 2009

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