POLL SHOWS OREGON VOTER SUPPORT FOR A HEALTH CARE TAX TO FUND UNIVERSAL CARE
A new state-wide poll shows that a majority of Oregon voters would be willing to consider paying a new health care tax more than twice as large as their Oregon income tax to replace health care premiums and other health care expenses.
The poll is likely to turn a few heads, not only in Oregon, but nationally, as previous polls have shown high support for specific forms of universal health care such as single-payer or Medicare-for-All, but with low voter willingness to support those programs financially.
Oregon voters in the poll were motivated for change by the increasingly high cost and other problems of the current health care system.
81% identified the cost of health care to individuals, governments, and businesses as a major problem, “This is about as unified an opinion, across party lines and other demographic categories, as you will ever see in America,” remarks Corvallis resident and retired management consultant Warren George, who commissioned the poll along with support from Ron Loe of Wood Castle Furniture.
70% of voters also identified other concerns such as medical bankruptcy and unnecessary system complexity as major problems.
More than half believed that as costs continue to rise, Medicare and Medicaid programs are in major jeopardy.
75% of Oregon voters believe that universal care is a desirable solution to the high cost and other problems, but unlike previous national polls, Oregon voters were significantly more willing to express support for a tax to provide public health care benefits. The poll indicates that this support stems in part from a majority of Oregon voters inclined to believe claims that a universal care system will save money relative to the cost of premiums and other health care expenses which the tax would replace.
62% of Oregon voters would probably or definitely vote for a separate health care tax to provide care for everyone in the state, as long as the tax is typically smaller than what they currently pay in premiums and out of pocket expenses, and as long as employers keep contributing about the same portion of employee cost as they do now. This majority opinion held across all five congressional districts, and held in both Republican and Democrat represented districts of the Oregon Legislature.
“Of course, this is not a vote,” cautions Stuart Elway, president of Elway Research, who conducted the poll. “It is easier to tell a pollster that one favors a new health care tax than it is to actually vote for one. Still, with 6 in 10 respondents open to a measure that would eliminate or replace private insurance, establish a new state agency and a new health care tax to fund it, these findings indicate that Oregon voters are ready to have that discussion.”
About the poll: The poll was conducted by Elway Research, Inc, of Seattle between July 17-21. A random sample of 402 registered voters in Oregon were interviewed by live interviewers via land line and cell phones and online. The margin of sampling error ±5%.