A new Associated Press health care poll demonstrates that when asked follow up questions about the trade-offs involved, Americans are much less supportive of Democratic health care policies than other polls would have us believe. For instance, when asked, “Do you favor or oppose requiring that everyone has at least some health insurance?” respondents say they favor the mandate by an overwhelming 67 percent to 27 percent margin. Yet when the pollsters actually described how the mandate would work by adding “and pay money to the government as a penalty if they do not, unless the person is very poor” suddenly the numbers reversed, with only 28 percent supporting the mandate and 64 percent opposing.
Additionally, one of the most popular elements of health care legislation, we are told, is the requirement that insurance companies cover those with pre-existing conditions. Yet it turns out to be much less popular when people find out the catch. While 82 percent said in a Pew poll last month that they would support a ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, that number was just 43 percent in the AP poll, which told respondents that “such a ban would probably cause most people to pay more for health insurance.” We can only wonder how much lower that number would be if they were also told that such a ban would necessitate creating a mandate that would require a penalty for those who do not purchase health insurance that is approved by the Health Choices Commissioner and offered on a government-run exchange.