Voters strongly oppose a key component of the current health insurance system. Sixty-nine percent (69%) reject the idea that younger American should pay more in health care premiums to help keep costs lower for older Americans. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that just 31% support the idea.
On this question, there is little difference between the views of younger and older adults. Among those aged 50-64, just 27% believe the young should pay more (see question wording and crosstab results). This might be surprising for those who believe that politics is primarily about self-interest. Instead, it suggests that a basic sense of fairness and a desire for a level playing field is important to most Americans.
In practical terms, if the current rules were changed, young people would pay much less in insurance because they require far less medical care. Older adults (or their employers) would pay much more.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted September 23-24, 2018 for ScottRasmussen.com by HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Adding to the sense that many people want a fair system, 68% believe that those who engage in risky habits and lifestyle choices pay more for their health insurance. Examples of risky behavior provided include smoking, heavy drinking, not wearing a seat belt, and unprotected sex. Republicans are a bit more likely than others to hold this view, but nearly two-thirds of Democrats and Independents support it as well.
Data released earlier showed that 83% of voters believe that a person’s lifestyle choices have a bigger impact than medical care on a person’s health and quality of life.
On this question, we employed a split sample research approach. For half the sample, the question was preceded by this comment: “Some habits and lifestyle choices increase health risks and the cost of health care.” For the other half, no such prompt was provided. However, people made the connection on their own since the results were virtually identical.
My most recent column highlights a very real and perhaps insurmountable obstacle to meaningful political change. While most believe that our health care system is broken, 73% of voters believe the medical care they personally receive is good or excellent. As if that wasn’t enough, 71% rate their own health insurance coverage as good or excellent.
These people—a strong majority—are rationally concerned that any politically-driven change might hurt the good medical care and insurance coverage they currently receive. No matter how bad things are today, it’s far too easy to imagine how Congress could make it worse.
That leads to a desire for increased consumer choice. Rather than being required to buy comprehensive health insurance that covers just about all medical procedures, 75% think they should be able to choose between health insurance plans that range in price based on the level of coverage they provide. Seventy-eight percent (78%) believe workers should be given a choice between accepting a lower salary with more expensive health insurance or a higher salary with less expensive health insurance.
The mission of ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). We release four to eight new polling updates each day. Sign up HERE to receive our daily email update. You can also follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).