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Heath Care Issues Top List of Americans’ Anxieties, Followed by Dysfunctional Government

Douglas A. McIntyre

American's have become sick of the federal health care exchange site. It happened so quickly, as a matter of fact, that they now worry about health care as the country's most severe problem. Next on that list is dysfunctional government. Of course, the two are closely related. Dysfunctional government is at the core of the lack of ability to deliver on the one thing the Obama administration says it has done to solve what it calls America's largest problem.

According to a new Gallup poll:

Americans' views of the 2010 healthcare law have worsened in recent weeks, with 40% approving and 55% disapproving of it. For most of the past year, Americans have been divided on the law, usually tilting slightly toward disapproval. The now 15-percentage-point gap between disapproval and approval is the largest Gallup has measured in the past year.

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Even unemployment, which has plagued the economy more than any other factor since the start of the recession, probably has been pushed down the list.

Beyond the concern about the government's ability to function is a belief that goes beyond the execution, or lack of execution, of health care programs. Gallup further reports:

The timing of this drop in approval of the law suggests it may be linked to the controversy over the millions of Americans losing their current health insurance coverage.

In fact, in an open-ended question probing Americans' reasons for approving or disapproving of the law, 11% of those who disapprove specifically mention losing their insurance. Another 7% say the president lied about details of the law.

These are not the most common reasons for disapproval, however. The leading complaint is a philosophical objection -- government interference or forcing people to get healthcare -- mentioned by 37% of those who disapprove. Twenty-one percent believe the law will increase costs and make healthcare less affordable. Eight percent specifically mention planning, design, or website problems; another 8% say the law is "not working."

Simply put, Americans think they have been lied to. That cannot be undone in a day, a month or probably a year. This is particularly true if the new insurance programs that have been promised actually never become available -- or are not financially, and in terms of health care coverage, a good bargain. As for now, the tools to prove otherwise are broken and there is no timetable for when they will be fixed.

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