Elon, N.C. — A majority of people surveyed in North Carolina support national health insurance legislation that would include a so-called "public option" for people to buy insurance, according to an Elon University Poll released Monday.
About three-fourths of respondents to the poll, which surveyed 703 residents statewide Oct. 26-29, said the U.S. health care system needs to be reformed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The public option, which would create a government-sponsored health plan for people who cannot get coverage elsewhere, has been among the most controversial aspects of proposed health care reform in Congress.
Fifty-four percent of North Carolina residents surveyed by Elon University said they would support a public option. Forty-one percent said they would use a public option plan should one become available.
Yet, those surveyed were evenly split on the concept of a national insurance plan where the federal government pays most medical and hospital costs for all citizens, with 47 percent saying the support the idea and 47 percent opposed to it.
“Obvious from these results is that citizens recognize that the health system is in need of reform but, like most Americans, are divided over how to do it,” Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll, said in a statement.
The number of North Carolina residents who have private health insurance has dropped in the past year, according to the poll. Seventy-three percent of those surveyed said they have private coverage, compared with 83 percent in a September 2008 poll.