Report

Most Support Health Care Overhaul but Fewer Want Total Rebuild than in 1993

  • March 19, 2009

Most Americans believe that the nation's health care system is in need of substantial changes. But there is less support for completely rebuilding the health care system than there was in April 1993, during the early stage of the Clinton administration's unsuccessful effort to revamp health care.

Still, the public continues to favor the government guaranteeing health insurance for all citizens, even if it means raising taxes. About six-in-ten (61%) favor a government guarantee of health insurance, which is little changed from last August (63%).

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 9-12 among 1,308 adults reached on landlines and cell phones finds that a large majority of Americans support sweeping changes in health care. Four-in-ten (40%) say the health care system needs to be completely rebuilt, while 36% think it needs fundamental changes. Only about one-in-five (21%) believe that the health care system works pretty well and needs only minor changes. In April 1993, a majority of Americans (55%) said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt.

While there is less support across the board for completely rebuilding the system than in 1993, the pattern of opinion is similar. As was the case 16 years ago, far more Democrats and independents than Republicans say wholesale changes are needed. About half of Democrats (49%) say the system needs to be completely rebuilt, compared with 39% of independents and 25% of Democrats. People with no more than a high school education (48%) also are far more likely to favor a complete overhaul than are those with some college education (35%) or college graduates (29%).

Read the full report Most Support Health Care Overhaul—But it's Not 1993 on the Pew Research Center's Web site.