By a 50 to 35 percent margin, Americans believe it's a bad idea to create a government health-insurance company to compete with private insurers.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released Friday also shows that voters aren't buying promises that middle-class Americans won't eventually see tax hikes as a consequence of covering an estimated 45 million uninsured Americans.
Fifty-six percent of those surveyed consider a tax increase for the middle class to be "very likely," and another 22 percent say it is "somewhat likely."
Only 4 percent consider a tax hike on the middle class "not at all likely." President Obama has repeatedly insisted that no one earning less than $250,000 would get hit with an additional tax
The Rasmussen poll, based on interviews with 1,000 likely voters, is one in a series of recent surveys suggesting Americans are profoundly skeptical about the health-care plans that are currently making their way through Congress.
A recent Zogby poll, for example, showed that voters oppose the House version of health-care reform introduced on Tuesday by a 52 to 40 percent margin.
That bill would require all Americans to either obtain health insurance or pay a penalty.
It would partially defray the estimated $1 trillion cost over the next decade by increases taxes on individuals making over $280,000 annually (or above $350,000 for families).
And it would establish a "health-insurance exchange," described as "a transparent and functional marketplace for individuals and small employers to comparison shop among private and public insurers."
One option offered by the health-insurance exchange would be a "public health insurance option," which would effectively function as a public alternative to private health insurance.
Opponents of the legislation say that establishing a public health-insurance option undermines the viability of private insurance firms, and would constitute an incremental step toward a fully public system of health care.
A New York Times editorial Thursday sought to refute that notion, asserting the House bill "makes a mockery of Republican claims that the Democrats are pushing a hugely costly government takeover of medicine."
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