Discussing what public wants in health care, Luntz left out top priority

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

On the August 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity answered Alan Colmes' question, "Most people want national health care. Don't they?" with a flat "No." Colmes said he wanted guest Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster, to answer his question. Luntz did not answer whether the public wanted "national health care," instead claiming that people want "control. What they want is the ability to determine their doctor, their hospital, their pharmaceutical plan, and their insurance company." In fact, polling from May and June found that a majority of the public wants a national health insurance program. Moreover, one of those polls, conducted by a Democratic polling firm, found that a majority of likely voters favored universal health insurance even if it limited choices among health care providers.

Several polls taken in May and June found that a majority of respondents favored a government program to provide health insurance to all Americans:

  • In a May 4-6 CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, 64 percent of respondents said they "think the government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes."
  • In a May 31-June 5 poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53 percent of respondents said they wanted a presidential candidate to propose "a new health plan that would make a major effort to provide health insurance for all or nearly all of the uninsured," even if it "would involve a substantial increase in spending," in contrast with 21 percent in favor of a "new health plan that is more limited and would cover only some groups of the uninsured BUT would involve less new spending" and 17 percent in favor of "[k]eeping things basically as they are."
  • A May 29-31 poll conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that a majority of likely voters favored:
  • A "proposal that provided every American with health insurance, even if it meant your taxes or health care premiums would increase as a result."
  • A plan that would "require businesses to either cover their employees or make a contribution to a pool that help fund health care coverage for the uninsured. It would require all Americans to get health insurance and provide subsidies for Americans who could not afford it. It would also make insurance more affordable by creating new tax credits, expanding Medicaid and taking steps to contain health care costs."

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll also found that a majority of its respondents placed a higher priority on national health care or access to "health care coverage" than the kind of "control" Luntz described. Given the choice between two statements, 57 percent of those polled said that "[k]nowing I will always have health care coverage is the more important thing to me" compared with 38 percent who said "maintaining choices and seeing my own doctor is the more important thing to me." Fifty-five percent of respondents said they would "favor ... a proposal that provided every American with health insurance, even if it meant you may have to change your current health care provider and insurance" compared with 41 percent who said they would oppose that proposal.

From the August 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: But it seems to me to be opportunity, if they [Republicans] go back to those Reagan conservative principles -- I think there are four main things.

Be tough on the war on terror, secure the borders, guarantee that American taxes are gonna be low, and become energy independent and get us off the dependency of foreign oil. They stand on that, and they contrast it. And then you go after Hillary Care. I think it's a winning formula. No?

LUNTZ: But it still has to be done in a positive way. It cannot just be about what's wrong with the Democrats.

HANNITY: I agree with you.

LUNTZ: It has to be why the American --

HANNITY: Their vision.

LUNTZ: -- people can do it better.

HANNITY: Yes.

COLMES: And don't -- people want national health care. Don't they?

HANNITY: No.

COLMES: I think I was asking Mr. Luntz.

LUNTZ: What they want is -- Dr. Luntz to you, by the way.

COLMES: Because they want what?

LUNTZ: Dr. Luntz.

COLMES: Well, thank you.

LUNTZ: What they want is control. What they want is the ability to determine their doctor, their hospital --

COLMES: Right.

LUNTZ: -- their pharmaceutical plan, and their insurance company.

COLMES: Thank you, Dr. Luntz.

LUNTZ: And if you take away their control, they're not going to be happy.

COLMES: You're going to be Hannity's pollster when he runs, right?

LUNTZ: I would take that job in a second.

COLMES: All right, coming up, country-music superstar Brad Paisley is out with a brand new album, gearing up for a summer tour, his first stop right here in this studio.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity, Frank Luntz
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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