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Survey says Americans want more freedom choosing health coverage

Most Americans want more freedom in choosing their health plan and support tax credits for individual health insurance, according to a new survey commissioned by Communicating for Agriculture and the Self-Employed (CA), a national, nonprofit, nonpartisan association providing benefits and services to self-employed Americans.

Eighty-four percent of respondents want more freedom to choose the type of health coverage they receive, including the ability to reduce the amount of coverage.

The survey, conducted by Strategic Research Group of Minneapolis through random polling of households around the country, reports that 84 percent of respondents want more freedom to choose the type of health coverage they receive, including the ability to reduce the amount of coverage.

According to the survey, many Americans also support proposals in Congress that would grant tax credits of up to $1,000 per individual and up to $3,000 for a family to pay for individual health insurance. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they would rather have a tax credit than the right to sue their provider, as proposed by the patients' bill of rights also under consideration by Congress.

"It is clear from our survey that consumers do not see the patients' bill of rights as the answer to rising health care costs and would rather see legislation that creates opportunities for some 40 million Americans who do not have health insurance," says Wayne Nelson, president of CA.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Sixty-one percent of respondents said their monthly health insurance premiums were between $100 and $400, while 31 percent said they paid more than $400 a month for health insurance.
  • Sixty-three percent said their health insurance premiums had recently increased, and six percent had dropped their insurance because it was too expensive.
  • When asked who is to blame for rising heath care costs, 33 percent said doctors and hospitals charge too much; 32 percent said insurance companies are at fault; 16 percent said government rules and regulations were to blame; and 14 percent said pharmaceutical companies price their drugs too high.
  • About half said they would support replacing private health insurance with a government-run plan, even if it meant increased taxes.
  • Sixty-four percent said they would not support requiring private health insurers to guarantee coverage to all Americans.

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