(Corrects researcher's name in paragraphs four and five)
* Well under half expect Obama, Congress to deliver
* Poll finds Americans see best healthcare as entitlement
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON, Sept 30 Most Americans would pay
higher taxes to fund healthcare reforms that provide the best
quality of care, but only a minority expects Washington to
deliver it, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The telephone survey of 3,003 U.S. adults conducted by Thomson
Reuters (TRI.N) (TRI.TO) found 63 percent willing to pay for
healthcare reform, though most also said they are happy with their
own doctors, insurance plans and out-of-pocket costs.
However, only 35 percent of those surveyed said President
Barack Obama's reform agenda and the debate in Congress will
lead to better health service, while 41 percent said they would
expect it to lead to lower costs.
"There's skepticism that the government can deliver value,"
said Gary Pickens, chief research officer for Thomson Reuters'
healthcare and science research business. Thomson Reuters is
the parent company of global news agency Reuters.
"But underlying this is a fairly strong belief that people
are entitled to the best healthcare," Pickens added. "This is a
value statement: that people are entitled not just to good but
to the best healthcare. And people are willing to pay for it."
The survey began Sept. 8, the day before Obama sought to
jump-start the congressional debate with a prime-time speech to
lawmakers. Researchers wound up their polling on Sept. 17. The
findings have a 2 percent margin of error.
The survey period also followed a summer of rancorous
debate in Washington and angry exchanges between healthcare
reform advocates and adversaries at political town hall
meetings across the country.
The survey showed that 76 percent of those polled believe
Americans deserve the best healthcare. But only 43 percent said
they actually receive it.
Readiness to pay for effective reform crossed party lines,
with 78 percent of Democrats willing to accept higher taxes, as
well as 64 percent of independents and 48 percent of
Expectations split sharply with party affiliation.
Seventy-two percent of Democrats but only 35 percent of
independents and 12 percent of Republicans expected the reforms
to drive down costs.
Sixty-six percent of Democrats said reform will bring
better healthcare service, versus 29 percent of independents
and 8 percent of Republicans.
And 77 percent said they were satisfied with their doctors,
68 percent with their health insurance coverage and 53 percent
with out-of-pocket expenses.
(Editing by Maggie Fox and Paul Simao)