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Americans want government to ensure healthcare coverage

Staff Writer |
Fifty-six percent of Americans say the federal government should be responsible for making sure all Americans have healthcare coverage.

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This is up slightly from 52% last year and the highest level in 10 years.

From 2000, the year Gallup first asked the question, to 2008, a clear majority of Americans (averaging 62%) agreed with the government responsibility premise.

But by November 2009, after newly elected President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats had been working for months on healthcare legislation aimed at achieving universal coverage, the percentage of Americans believing government was responsible dropped below the majority level.

Agreement generally declined in the years thereafter, reaching a low of 42% in 2013.

Since 2014, however, as the elements of the 2010 Affordable Care Act have been taking effect, Americans' views that the government should ensure universal coverage have been rising, and this has been the majority sentiment in each of the past three years.

Americans have healthcare coverage - it does not signify that the government has to provide that coverage.

But another question in Gallup's November Health and Healthcare survey asks about government involvement in providing healthcare.

Results show that a slightly smaller 47% of Americans favor a government-run healthcare system. Forty-eight percent favor a system based on private insurance.

The public's combined responses to the two questions - about government responsibility that all have coverage and about a government-run system - are as follows:

- 40% of Americans want total government involvement in healthcare - government taking responsibility for making sure all have healthcare coverage and government running the healthcare system

- 34% adopt a total antigovernment position, believing the government is not obligated to ensure all Americans are covered and opposing a government-run system

- 13% say government is responsible for ensuring everyone has coverage but simultaneously opt for a private health insurance system

- 6% say government should run healthcare, but it does not have a responsibility to provide health coverage

The remaining U.S. adults have no opinion on at least one of the questions.


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