More Americans now say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage (50%) than say it is (47%). This is a first since Gallup began tracking this question, and a significant shift from as recently as three years ago, when two-thirds said ensuring healthcare coverage was the government's responsibility.
What's significant is support for the federal government's involvement in health care has dropped 22 percentage points from a high of 69% in the fall of 2006 to now 47% in the fall of 2009. The shift has accelerated in the last year from 54% support to now 47%.
With polls, it's always hard to know what's driving people's attitudes and whether they will last. I wonder if Americans are having second thoughts about the move towards socialism, European style. If so that's a very hopeful sign because we lose lots with socialized medicine. Costs and taxes rise and the overall quality of health care under socialized health care declines.
The bottom line?
The wording of the healthcare bill the House passed last Saturday explicitly states that one of the bill's purposes is to provide "affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans."
The current poll results indicate that, with the renewed healthcare debate since Obama took office, Americans have become less convinced that it is an appropriate goal for the federal government to take on the responsibility of ensuring that all Americans have healthcare coverage. It is possible that the current debate has increased the average American's awareness as to the nuances of the various roles the government could play in the healthcare system, helping make the generic "make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage" sound less appealing. Plus, the current debate may have produced more skepticism among Americans that the government's role in healthcare could or should be this broad.