CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Public Opinion Snapshot: Universal Health Care Momentum Swells

More and More Americans Say: Time to Guarantee Health Care Coverage for All

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

A CBS News/New York Times survey last month found that 90 percent believe the U.S. health care system needs either fundamental changes (54 percent) or a complete overhaul (36 percent). And the results of a November, 2005 Center for American Progress/Americans for Health Care poll similarly showed that 89 percent think that “with costs rising and the quality of health coverage declining, the health care system in our country is broken and we need to make fundamental changes.”

The public is clearly looking for big changes in the health care system. More and more Americans say that includes having the federal government guarantee health care coverage for all.

Consider the public’s response to the question, “Do you think the federal government should guarantee health insurance for all Americans, or isn’t this the responsibility of the federal government?”, first asked by CBS/NYT in 1996. The chart above shows that in 1996, 56 percent said guaranteeing health insurance should be a federal responsibility, and 38 percent disagreed. The latest reading in February of this year shows that almost two-thirds (64 percent) now say the federal government should provide this guarantee, and only 27 percent oppose such a guarantee.

Responses to Gallup’s question, “Do you think it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage, or is that not the responsibility of the federal government?” also show increasing support for a federal role in guaranteeing health care coverage. When first asked by Gallup in 2000, a 59-38 majority endorsed a federal responsibility for health care coverage for all. But in their latest reading in November of last year, that majority had swelled to 69-28, their highest reading yet on the question.

For more information on CAP’s policies on this issue:

To talk with Ruy Teixeira about public opinion on this issue, contact:

For TV, Sean Gibbons, Director of Media Strategy 202.682.1611 or
For radio, Theo LeCompte, Media Strategy Manager 202.741.6268 or
For print
, Trevor Kincaid, Deputy Press Secretary 202.741.6273 or
For web
, Erin Lindsay, Online Marketing Manager 202.741.6397 or

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here