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Voters Still Put Lower Costs Over Health Insurance Mandate

As Congress begins debating ways to change the failing Obamacare system, voters feel more strongly than ever that reducing health care costs is more important than mandating health insurance coverage for everyone.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that in terms of reforming health care, 62% of Likely U.S. Voters feel it is more important to reduce the cost of care. That’s up from a previous high of 59% in January of last year. Thirty-four percent (34%) still place more importance on making sure that everyone has health insurance, but that’s a new low. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-six percent (36%) continue to believe, however, that the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Fifty percent (50%) oppose Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, while 14% are undecided.

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Support for the individual mandate in regular surveys over the last several years has run from a high of 44% in November 2014 to a low of 32% in October of the following year.

As there have been for years on nearly all questions related to the national health care law, however, there are wide partisan differences of opinion.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on March 8-9, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Only 12% of voters want to leave Obamacare alone, but 88% say it’s important for Congress and the president to have some sort of replacement program in place if they repeal it.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of Republicans and 64% of voters not affiliated with either major political party think it is more important to reduce the cost of health care. Just 42% of Democrats agree. Most Democrats (54%) say making sure that everyone has health insurance is more important.

But then Democrats by a 49% to 36% margin believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance. Only 25% of Republicans and 32% of unaffiliated voters share that view.

Those under 40 are stronger supporters of the individual mandate than their elders are, but younger voters also feel most strongly that reducing health care costs is more important.

Blacks support the insurance mandate more than whites and other minority voters do. While most whites and other minorities rate cost reduction as more important than the mandate, blacks are almost evenly divided on the question.

Even among voters who believe the government should require every American to buy health insurance, 41% believe reducing health care costs is more important. That compares, however, to 79% of those who oppose the insurance mandate.

While most Americans say their personal health hasn’t changed much over the past five years, most are paying more for health care now

Many Americans continue to feel the pinch of high health care costs. Thirty-six percent (36%) say they have postponed medical checkups or procedures to save money in the last six months, while 21% have not filled a recent prescription because the cost was too high.

Most voters have long said Obamacare is more likely to raise health care costs than to reduce them.

Citing financial losses, several major health insurers have pulled out of the state exchanges set up under the health care law, leaving many Americans with fewer insurance options and higher rates.  But voters don’t think taxpayers should help offset any jump in rates they may experience because of the exit of these companies.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on March 8-9, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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