7NEWS/Suffolk Poll on healthcare
The Hiller Instinct: 7NEWS/Suffolk Poll on healthcare
Our poll reflects the confusion and conflict about expanding healthcare.
For example, while 69 percent think the current system should be changed, a similar percentage -- 73 percent -- do not believe everyone will purchase the health insurance they're now required to buy.
And 49 percent -- just under half --don't think people should be forced to buy health insurance if they don't want it.
"This is a dangerous disconnect," Prof. David Paleologos, a Suffolk University Pollster, said. "For example, the people who use healthcare the most -- older voters -- are saying, 'People should not be forced to pay.' That's a serious problem."
Here's another contradiction: while Beacon Hill struggles with a budget deficit of nearly a billion dollars, 49 percent of the people we polled said Massachusetts can afford to provide free healthcare to the state's poorest citizens.
But nearly as many -- 47 percent -- think free healthcare will make Massachusetts a magnet for poor people with no health insurance.
"This is a tale of two states," said Prof. Paleologos. "Boston area, they're not seeing a problem. Western Mass., southeast Mass., Cape, they see Massachusetts as a magnet for poor people."
Still, looking ahead, there's more optimism than anxiety.
While 59 percent expect to have enough money for adequate healthcare in the future, 50 percent think they will always be able to go to the hospital of their choice, and 43 percent believe there will be enough doctors and hospital beds to serve all those in Boston who need care.
"Their ability to get healthcare is phenomenal," said one man.
"I'm pretty optimistic," said another woman.
Just as the new healthcare law is a work in progress, so is public opinion surrounding it.
Given how many people are aware of the new law, and support it, the challenge now is to educate them about how it's supposed to work, so that it can.
(Copyright 2007 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)