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Several lawmakers are staking their support for a health care overhaul on whether or not it creates a government-run health insurance plan — the so-called public option — to compete with private insurers. But a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that even as the public supports a public option, they have other, higher priorities for the health legislation.
Respondents to the poll were given a list of features of a hypothetical health care proposal and asked to name which were extremely or very important to them. Among Democratic respondents, 87 percent picked “making sure affordable health insurance plans are available” as their top priority.
The Congressional Budget Office says that premiums under a public option would cost more than under private insurance and as a result would not be too popular. But this cost prediction had not been widely circulated when the poll was conducted between Nov. 5 and Nov. 12.
Among Democrats surveyed, the second priority was insuring as many of the currently uninsured as possible. Third was requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions.