Sunday, May 03, 2009

56% of Iowans Want a Public Health Care Plan

The Des Moines Register conducted a poll that shows 56% of Iowans want a public health care plan.

The Iowa Poll found that 56 percent of Iowans support creation of a public plan. Thirty-seven percent oppose the idea and 7 percent are unsure. If such a plan were created, 47 percent of Iowans who aren't already insured by government programs say they would consider enrolling.

The Senate Finance Committee held private meetings on health care reform last week and will hold a public hearing Tuesday on expanding health care coverage to all Americans.

Supporters of a public health insurance plan say it could work like Medicare, the federal insurance program for the elderly and disabled. The government would organize and sell insurance coverage, which could be used at independent clinics and hospitals. Fans of the proposal say it could be especially helpful to people who have trouble finding affordable policies because they have chronic health conditions, are self-employed or work for small businesses.

Insurers are fighting creation of a new public plan, saying it could impose artificially low reimbursement payments for services from doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. The insurers say they couldn't compete with that.

By offering a public alternative to private health care insurance, people would be able to choose what is best for them. The public plan would compete with private insurance and the market could then decide which is better.

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