Monday, August 10, 2009

Universality, Individual and Employer Mandates (8/10)

Today, we look at three specific issues in the health care debate. The first is universality (i.e., belief that any new policy should work toward or guarantee health insurance to all). The other two issues involve possible mechanisms for achieving universality, an individual mandate (i.e., requiring all individuals to obtain health insurance) and an employer mandate (requiring companies to provide health insurance to their employees -- as many of them do now -- perhaps with some assistance to the smallest businesses to help them fulfill the mandate).

We see first that, via a variety of different question wordings, universality consistently receives majority support (you may click on the graphics to enlarge them)...

The polling on personal/individual mandates reveals a huge disjunction, with two polls showing robust support and another two showing weak support. The distinguishing factor appears to be how the situation is characterized for people who would have trouble adhering to the mandate. When the survey item emphasizes "help" being available for these people, the policy is supported, whereas when punitive consequences for noncompliance are mentioned, support plummets.

Lastly, support for the employer mandate tends to be around 50% and above, except for one poll that refers to a "penalty" being imposed on companies that do not participate.

Most of the underlying data for these graphs can be found in Polling Report's health policy page, except for the FOX data, which are available here.

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