PRINCETON, NJ -- One week after the passage of historic new healthcare legislation, Americans remain worried about the bill's effect on costs -- both for the nation as a whole and for them personally. A majority of Americans say healthcare costs in the U.S. and the federal budget deficit will get worse as a result of the bill. Half of Americans believe that healthcare costs for themselves and their families will get worse.
The March 26-28 USA Today/Gallup poll measured Americans' views on four different ways in which the new bill could affect them personally, and six ways in which it could affect the nation as a whole. Americans gave the most negative responses to the cost dimensions tested in both sequences.
These data underscore the results of previous Gallup research on healthcare reform legislation; costs have been the most frequently cited response when opponents have been asked to explain their opposition in their own words.
The public does not view all aspects of the bill negatively. Americans are slightly more positive than negative about the bill's impact on healthcare coverage in the U.S. and on the overall health of Americans in the U.S.
Americans break even in terms of whether the bill will make their and their families' overall health better or worse (although the majority say it will have no impact either way). Americans are more negative than positive when asked about the impact of the bill on their healthcare coverage and quality of healthcare received.
In response to two broad questions about the impact of the bill, Americans clearly see more benefits from the bill for the country as a whole than for themselves personally. Even so, less than half of Americans say the benefit will be positive for the nation or themselves.
Americans' views on the impact of the new healthcare legislation are quite similar to those measured last November. (See page 2 for full trend data on all questions discussed in this analysis.)
These data underscore a key challenge faced by proponents of the new healthcare bill: persuading Americans that the bill will not substantially raise the costs of healthcare for the nation as a whole, or for them personally.
Additionally, supporters face the fact that a majority of Americans believe the recently passed healthcare bill will either make no difference or make things worse for both the U.S. healthcare system in general and their personal healthcare situations.
Americans do appear at least somewhat amenable to the argument that the bill will create a more positive situation for healthcare coverage in the U.S. This confirms previous findings showing that Americans are most likely to say new legislation would benefit low-income families and those who currently have no insurance.
Results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,033 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 26-28, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.