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Initial Reaction to Bush Health Plan Proposals

At first blush, Americans like President Bush's proposal to radically change the healthcare insurance landscape.

In advance of his State-of-The-Union address, the Presidents staff released details of the proposal.

Essentially the Presidents plan includes two parts: it would allow individuals to deduct $7,500 and families $15,000 from their taxable income if they purchased healthcare insurance directly or received it through their employers; and it will help states make affordable private health insurance available to their citizens.

The Presidents proposal focuses on utilizing private sources to address the 47 million Americans who are uninsured.

The plan is consistent with the President's idea of increasing access to health insurance through the private market while encouraging people to be more cost-conscious as they purchase medical-care coverage.

Information Strategies, Inc. polled its readers the day before the State-Of-The-Union Address and found many have positive first impressions of the proposals.

According to JoAnn Laing, ISIs President & CEO, more than 1,000 respondents said they thought the proposals were a good first step.

Sixty-one percent of all respondents said the idea seemed good to them while only 14% were opposed, she said.  At the same time, one out of five respondents wanted more information and looked forward to the Presidents speech.

Source: Information Strategies, Inc. Bush Healthcare Proposal Survey, 2007

Follow up telephone interviews indicated many respondents felt that something needed to be done to reduce healthcare costs.

At the same time, many feel that most groups would benefit from the changes.  The total does not equal 100% because some respondents did not answer.

Which Groups Would Benefit Or Be Hurt By Proposals (1,000+ Respondents)

Source: Information Strategies, Inc. Bush Healthcare Proposal Survey, 2007

Without knowing all the details, respondents weighed in with their thoughts as to the effect these proposals would have on their own situation.

Respodents Record The Effect On Their Healthcare Program

Source: Information Strategies, Inc. Bush Healthcare Proposal Survey, 2007

Ms. Laing said she thought that another poll after the President speech would reveal more detailed information about how Americans feel but believes that these changes would play well for most individuals and families.

According to the New York Times, the Census Bureau estimates that 175 million Americans obtain private health insurance through employers, while 27 million people are covered by insurance bought outside the workplace. The rest, with the exception of the 47 million uninsured, are covered through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid and military health care.

There are an estimated 46 million to 48 million people in the United States who are uninsured at some point during the year.

The Presidents advisors believe this approach would encourage those that are currently uninsured to purchase healthcare insurance.

Some Washington experts point out that one in three Health Savings Account purchasers did not have insurance prior to obtaining an HSA policy. They believe this approach will increase the number of people without insurance to step forward.
Democratic opposition is expected but the proposals are in line with several of the partys goals.

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