Public Support for National Health Insurance: Roles of Attitudes and Beliefs
Posted: 13 Jun 2007
Date Written: June 2007
Despite numerous attempts to enact legislation throughout the 20th century, the U.S. is the only developed country without a system of national health insurance. Yet, public opinion polls over the last 20 years consistently find that a solid majority of Americans support national health insurance. Why does the U.S. lack a system of health insurance despite widespread public support for it? In this paper, we examine the relationship between public support for national health insurance and attitudes toward different roles of government and individual beliefs. We find that people who have favorable attitudes toward government economic intervention and government redistribution are more likely to favor national health insurance than those who have less favorable attitudes toward these roles of government. The most intense support for national health insurance is among those who have favorable attitudes toward both roles of government. Consistent with research about other social programs, we find that the beliefs regarding racial minorities as well as beliefs regarding individual control over life limit support for national health insurance in the U.S. On the other hand, negative beliefs regarding businesses are an important source of support for national health insurance.
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