Do Americans Support Opting Out Of Health Reform?

Rasmussen has a new poll out that on its face would suggest that 54% of Americans support Sens. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) and John Barrasso’s proposal to allow states to opt out of the individual mandate, but I suspect that the response would be far different if respondents were informed of the consequences of abandoning the program or given another option. Rasmussen asks and finds:

– Should individual states have the right to opt out of the entire health care plan?
54% say they should.
30% say they should not.
15% are unsure.

– Should individual states have the right to opt out of portions of the plan that they disagree with?
54% say they should.
31% say they should not.
15% are undecided.

What’s happening here is the same phenomenon that we’ve seen in health care polls past. When voters are asked do you support the health law, a majority say they do not. But when they’re questioned on the law’s specifics — do you support the ban against pre-existing conditions, keeping children on their parents’ plan until 26 years of age, and closing the Medicare Part D doughnut hole — support greatly increases.

Consequently, if voters were told that opting out of the mandate would more than likely undermine the insurance market reforms, the number of respondents who favor leaving the plan would take a nose dive. The poll also has two key omissions (as far as I, a non-platinum subscriber to Rasmussen can tell): (1) it leaves out the fact that an opt out provision ALREADY exists in the law, but requires states to increase coverage and does not kick in until 2017 and (2) does not ask about a bipartisan proposal that would allow states to opt out of the mandate in 2014 if they can figure out a better way to expand coverage and lower costs.