POLL: Tax the rich to pay for health bill
Associated Press | 11/18/2009, 6:58 a.m.
The Senate Finance Committee bill would tax health insurance plans costing more than $8,000 annually for individuals and $21,000 for families, although those numbers could rise. Union members are lined up against that approach because they fear their benefits could be hurt, and the public doesn't like it either, the AP poll found. Fifty-six percent were opposed and only 29 percent in favor.
Other payment methods being contemplated on Capitol Hill also met with disapproval. Participants in the poll didn't support new taxes on medical device makers, drug companies or even insurers even though they said in response to different questions that drug companies and insurance companies made too much money.
Forty-eight percent in the poll were opposed to new taxes on insurance companies, and 42 percent were in support. Fifty-one percent opposed raising taxes on drug and device makers, while 41 percent supported that approach.
But 72 percent of people polled said insurance companies made too much profit, compared with 23 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit. And 74 percent said drug companies made too much profit, versus 21 percent who said they made about the right amount of profit.
People who told pollsters they generally supported Congress' health care overhaul plan were also more receptive to new taxes to pay for it. Taxing health care companies, drug companies and equipment manufacturers eked out majority support from that group.
The payment approach that met with least approval by far in the poll was borrowing the money and increasing the federal debt, something Obama has repeatedly vowed not to do. Just 6 percent of people polled said they could support that approach, while 88 percent opposed it.
The poll was based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,502 adults from Oct. 29 to Nov. 8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The interviews were conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media. Stanford University's participation was made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which conducts research on all facets of the health care system.