Poll: Most Utahns oppose Obama health overhaul



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A new poll shows most registered voters in Utah don't approve of President Obama's proposed health care overhaul.

The Salt Lake Tribune poll found 57 percent were opposed, most of them Republicans and independents.

But when Obama's name is removed from the equation, most said the federal government needs to fix the health care system, just not in the way proposed by the president and Democrats in Congress.

"They definitely are not sold on health care reform, at least the very particular legislation that appears to be coming out of Washington," said Brad Coker, of Washington, D.C.-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., which conducted the survey.

The poll of 625 Utahns was conducted Nov. 9-11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

It found that about 75 percent of Utah Democrats support the Obama-backed plan while 79 percent of Republicans oppose it.

Much of Utahns' resistance to the plan centers on concerns that it will result in higher taxes and restrictions on the availability of health care.

"(Obama) is trying to take over the private economy. They've already taken control of the banks and the car companies. Things work better in the private sector," said Lorie Bennett, 41, a mother of four who lives in Perry, near Brigham City.

Despite concerns over the Obama plan, many of the survey respondents were critical of the existing health care system.

Fifty-five percent said some kind of an overhaul was a "necessity," including 90 percent of Democrats, 42 percent of Republicans about 54 percent of independents.

Most seem to find plenty of blame for rising costs in the health system.

"The average Utah voter is looking at this and saying that the fault probably lies with all of these groups, and to have real health reform that all Utah can accept, they want to see legislation that addresses all these groups," he said.

Utah residents seem to prefer to see the economy fixed before the government tries a major overhaul of health care, according to Jill Vicory, director of member and community affairs at the Utah Hospitals and Health Systems Association.

There's even less appetite for the overhaul when it's attached to Democrats, she said.

"When you tie the Democrats' or Obama's name to the proposal, there is concern about government overreach, and especially concerns about spending and growing the deficit," Vicory said.

Verna Dean, 73, who lives in Riverton with her 80-year-old husband, doesn't support the reform packages in Congress, worrying particularly about the government's prominent role in how health care would be carried out.

"England and Canada have the worst health care systems, so I don't want it government-run," Dean said.

But Dennis Irvin, a 66-year-old retired accountant and office manager in West Jordan, supports a thorough overhaul.

"Somebody needs to take a look at it. I've lost my house to medical bills," said Irvin, who has heart disease and is partially disabled by a stroke. "The cost of medication is unbelievable. If my wife didn't have insurance through her employer, we would not be able to live."

------

Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Related Stories

SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast