Half of Americans don't like the "individual mandate" clause in the health care reform law that requires all people to buy health insurance if they're not already covered, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.


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Poll: Many oppose health care reform insurance mandate

March 1st, 2011

NORWALK, Conn. – Half of Americans don't like the "individual mandate" clause in the health care reform law that requires all people to buy health insurance if they're not already covered, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.

Meanwhile, only 22% of the more than 3,400 U.S. adults polled supported the reform law's mandate for health insurance coverage, Harris Interactive said Tuesday.

Overall, 21% of respondents supported the idea of eliminating the health insurance requirement but keeping the rest of the health reform law, and 29% said they thought the legislation should be repealed or eliminated. Another 28% said they weren't sure.

The nation as a whole remains split over the Affordable Care Act health reform law, with 39% opposed to the reform package, 34% in favor and 27% still undecided, the Harris survey found.

Harris Interactive noted, however, that certain arguments in favor of the health insurance mandate seem to sway opinion back toward support of the measure. For example, 71% of respondents in the mid-February online poll agreed with the notion that "for health insurance to work, it is necessary to include people who are healthy in order to help pay for those who are sick."

That high percentage suggest sthat "while the individual mandate is still widely unpopular, indeed by far the most unpopular part of the Affordable Care Act, some arguments in favor of it are supported by most people," according to Humphrey Taylor, chairman of Harris Poll Interactive.

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed agreed that if everyone is required to have health insurance, including healthy people, it will make the average cost of insurance less expensive, Harris Interactive said. And 51% agreed with the idea that requiring insurance companies to provide health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions won't work unless everyone is required to have insurance, which Harris Interactive pointed out is a key argument often made for why the individual mandate is necessary.

Still, the researcher said, many Americans disagree over the constitutionality of the mandate. Half of those surveyed felt the individual mandate was unconstitutional, 20% thought it was constitutional, and 30% weren't sure.

Along party lines, 78% of Republican respondents in the poll said the mandate was unconstitutional, compared with 31% of Democrats.

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