Utahns react to president's health care speech

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Correction:Our citation of the CNN poll taken after the president's speech should have been clear, as it was on CNN, that the sample was of people who actually watched the speech, a sample that could be, and in fact was, more representative of Democrats than Republicans.

According to CNN, the poll consisted of interviews with 427 adult Americans who watched the presidential speech conducted by telephone by Opinion Research Corporation on September 9, 2009.

18% of the respondents who participated in the survey identified themselves as Republicans, 45% identified themselves as Democrats, and 37% identified themselves as Independents.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A day after President Obama's speech on health care, are Utahns changing their minds about the president's plan? It's hard to say if the speech changed a lot of opinions on the president's plan here in Utah, but people are still talking about it.

Sandy Johnson of Salt Lake City watched President Obama's address to Congress on healthcare and liked what she heard.

"He addressed the issue up front and he said specifically what the problem was--namely that the health care system has to be changed because we can't continue to have 45 million people that are uninsured. And the costs keep going up much more rapidly than wages," Johnson said.

Those who have health problems or no insurance seem to be much more interested in the Obama plan.

"I don't have insurance right now, so anytime I can save money it would help me and a lot of Americans. I am all for it," said Josh Van Wagoner

Most Utahns, like Van Wagoner, believe the idea of health care reform is a conversation for the country to have. But in an online poll at KSL.com, 55 percent of those who took the survey indicated they are against the president's public option plan.

"I think Obama is doing a good thing by trying to find a new way to do our health care, but his way of going about it is too extreme right now," Vanessa Zappe said.

We found one idea was common among those we talked with: keep the partisan politics out of the debate.

"Congress is the blocking point," Johnson said. "All they can see is Republican or Democrat; they don't see the American people."A CNN poll taken after Wednesday night's speech shows, across the country, 67 percent of those who watched President Obama's speech say they are in favor of the president's plan to reform health care.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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