Pew reports that a majority admit not understanding the health care debate
Interest in the health care reform debate has remained extremely high throughout the summer, and more than nine-in-ten Americans say the issue is important to them. Still, despite the public focus on health care news, two-thirds continue to say the issue is hard to understand.
With Congress returning from its August recess, more than half of Americans (56%) say they plan to watch President Obama’s prime-time speech to lawmakers Wednesday night on health care. More Democrats (72%) say they plan to watch than Republicans (41%) or independents (52%).
According to the latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted September 3-6 among 1,005 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, four-in-ten Americans overall say they followed the health care debate very closely last week. About three-in-ten (29%) say they followed the health care debate more closely than any other story.
More than seven-in-ten (73%) Americans say the health care debate affects them personally, down slightly from the 78% that said the same in mid-July. Nearly all Americans (93%) view the issue as important, about the same as the 95% that said the issue was important in July. More than seven-in-ten (72%) say the issue is interesting, matching the proportion in the earlier survey.
Still, interest and media coverage notwithstanding, 67% say the health care debate remains hard to understand. That’s about the same as the 63% that said the issue was hard to understand in mid-July.
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Robert Lee Gaston - 10/6/2009
I doubt if there are many, if any, members of congress who could provide a detailed explanation of “ health care reform”. This includes those who are members of the “committees of jurisdiction”. I also think it is safe to say that few of them have given too much thought to the unintended consequences of the legislation they are working on.
Elizabeth Cregan - 9/15/2009
Even though I consider myself a fairly educated voter, I have to admit that healthcare reform legislation has me stymied. I often spend time trying to understand it but it seems to be an unsolvable jumble. As my closest representative to D.C., I feel my District Congressional Representative has the responsibility to bring capitol hill to me, in a way I can understand in order to form a more educated opinion. I am currently asking him to present my district with all the points of the bill itself, in terms and language aimed at that of a 5th-8th grader. We need to demand this in order in order to stop being "stupid" and to have some of the basic tool to take our collective opinions back from the media loud mouths who fill us with party bias.
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