Record 56 Percent in Gallup Poll: Healthcare Not Government's Job

Monday, 18 Nov 2013 06:09 PM

By Cathy Burke

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A record 56 percent of Americans think it is not the government's job to ensure that everyone has healthcare, says a Gallup poll released Monday.

The results were in line with a two-year trend showing a growing number of Americans think the government should stay out of the healthcare business — and in stark contrast to a consensus in 2006, when 69 percent of Americans thought healthcare coverage was a proper responsibility for government.

"As the debate about the implementation of the new healthcare law has unfolded, Americans have become less likely than ever to agree that the federal government should be responsible for making sure that all Americans have healthcare," the poll analysis found.

Attitudes across all three partisan groups have been shifting over the last decade, the  analysis found.

In September 2000, 53 percent of Republicans thought the government should not be responsible for ensuring healthcare coverage; today, 86 percent feel that way, the analysis said.

Fifty-five percent of independents currently say the government should not be involved in  healthcare — an increase of 28 points since 2000. Thirty percent of Democrats hold this view, an 11-point increase since 2000.

"Although Democrats are now somewhat more likely compared with 2000 to say the government should stay away from healthcare, much of the shift in attitudes against government intervention has stemmed from changes among Republicans and independents," the analysis noted.

"It is possible that this sharp change has been caused by a politicization of the issue, as it became a major part of [President Barack] Obama's campaign platform, and as he and other Democratic leaders pressed for and passed" the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

The national polling, which took place Nov. 7-10, had a 4 percentage-point margin of error.

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