A new poll conducted for National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health shows that 70% of Americans support adding $35 billion to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) over the next five years, although a smaller majority of 64% favor overriding President Bush’s veto of SCHIP legislation. The majority support is also bipartisan — it is composed of 54% of Republicans as well as 69% of independents and 82% of Democrats.
What is especially fascinating in the poll is that the public finds White House arguments against expanding the program unpersuasive. After hearing arguments for and against (including opponents’ claims “that the expansion would encourage some families who have private health insurance to drop it in favor of government-funded coverage” and “the expansion will wind up covering some children in middle-class families”), the support remains strong at 65%. Respondents are more worried that the SCHIP program won’t cover enough children (54%) than are worried that SCHIP will provide health insurance to those who don’t need it (33%). A slim majority (52%) reject the idea that SCHIP is a step toward government-run health care, but among the minority (40%) who think it is such a step, half of them say that is “mostly a good thing”!