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June 11, 2007
Mandating Insurance: Do Americans Support It?

While most adults in the United States are concerned about health insurance coverage--their own, or that of others--they also worry that requiring employers to cover all employees could lead to more economic problems. That's according to an online survey by Harris Interactive for the Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition (

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The survey of 2,402 adults found that half of those with insurance coverage worry that, if the spiral continues, their expenses will be so high that they won't be able to afford the coverage. The same percentage worries that their coverage will be drastically reduced, or even eliminated, because of costs. One in five reported that they worry a great deal about these issues.

About three-fourths of American adults support expanding insurance coverage. Included in the survey were such initiatives as employer mandates, government subsidies for the uninsured, and tax credits to help individuals afford health insurance. These options were viewed equally well by those who have employer-sponsored health insurance and those who do not. However, only 26% of the survey respondents said they are willing to pay more in taxes to cover more people under Medicare or Medicaid.

Interestingly, while 74% of those surveyed said they would support a measure requiring employers to provide insurance for all of their employees, many were concerned about the impact this might have on small business. Two-thirds believe that requiring smaller companies to provide health insurance could force some out of business. When asked if the benefits of forced insurance coverage outweigh the risks, 47% said yes and 53% said no.

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