WASHINGTON, DC – By a 2-1 margin, voters put a higher priority on making coverage more affordable to families, ahead of making sure health reform doesn’t cost the country too much, according to new survey results released today by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and Lake Research Partners.  Likely voters say health costs are squeezing their families, forcing them to choose between health care and basic necessities, according to the survey, conducted November 3-10, with 1,034 registered voters. What families consider affordable is lower than what many are forced to pay each month.  A majority say that the premium levels being considered in the Senate are too high, compared to the House levels. 

These findings reinforce what could be a crucial determinant of voter support for health reform: whether or not reform makes coverage more affordable for families, especially low-wage workers who form the majority of the country’s uninsured and underinsured population.   Throughout this year’s debate, PICO National Network and Community Catalyst, together with other faith-based, labor, consumer and civil rights organizations, have been urging Members of Congress to get the details right on affordability for families.

The survey shows that the lower amounts in the House bill ($69 a month for a family of three earning $27,000 and $305 a month for a family of three earning $45,000) are more likely to be rated as “about right” than the higher amounts in the Senate bill ($103/$362 a month).

“These new poll results should add to the growing momentum in the Senate to make coverage more affordable to working families by reducing premiums and out-of-pocket costs in line with the House legislation,” said Rev. Heyward Wiggins, Co-Chair of PICO National Network.

“For health reform to succeed we need to make sure that people are not being required to buy coverage that costs too much and covers too little,” said Rob Restuccia, Executive Director of Community Catalyst. “These findings point to the House legislation as a model for getting affordability right for families.”

Key findings

  • Almost half (44%) said they cut back on household spending as a result of paying for health care costs; more than 1 in 5 said they went without health insurance.
  • More than half (54%) said they could no longer afford coverage if it cost their family more than $300 a month.
  • Two-thirds (66%) said that making coverage more affordable to families was more important than making sure health reform does not cost the country too much money (33%).
  • Voters highest priority (31%) is “bringing down the cost of premiums and co-payments so more people can find affordable coverage”; compared to 25% “controlling costs of our health care system” (also closely related to affordability); 21% “giving people a public option they can afford”; and 13% “ending insurance company discrimination based on factors such as pre-existing conditions and gender.”
  • Voters are more likely to prefer House bill affordability provisions over the Senate. Nearly 70% say the Senate proposal costs “too much” for a family of 3 making $45,000.

Click here for the full results



About Community Catalyst
Community Catalyst is a national non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.  Since 1997, Community Catalyst has been working to build the consumer and community leadership required to transform the American health system.  With the belief that this transformation will happen when consumers are fully engaged and have an organized voice, Community Catalyst works in partnership with national, state and local consumer organizations, policymakers, and foundations, providing leadership and support to change the health care system so it serves everyone-especially vulnerable members of society.  For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org.