54 Percent of Americans Expect New Health Care Law Will Lead to Rationing


According to the latest national Reason-Rupe poll of 1200 adults, 54 percent of Americans believe it is likely that the new health care law passed by Congress in 2010 will lead to government rationing of health care services. Rationing meaning, some forms of medical care would no longer be covered because they are too costly, not essential, or have too little chance of success.


Expectations of the new health care law's impact may help explain favorability toward the law. For instance, among those who believe that government rationing of health care will likely result from the new law, 63 percent have an unfavorable view of the law in general. A majority among those who believe government rationing is unlikely favor the new law.

Full poll results found here.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 10th-20th of both mobile and landline phones, 1200 adults, margin of error +/- 3 percent. Columns may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here

Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.

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  1. “46% of poll respondents do not know what rationing is.”

    1. ^This. My first thought was ‘how the fuck could only 54% expect rationing?’

      1. A trillion dollars could be better spent on training more doctors- no matter what their cartel wants.

        1. The trick is that more doctors will have to justify their existence by carrying out more medical procedures, which will result in more billings.

          1. Doctors will also have to stop only considering the patients best interests, as in the Hippocratic oath. The best interests of the patients, the interests of society, and cost factors all need to be considered. If a treatment is expensive and the person doesn’t contribute much to the economy, it may be in societies best interests to deny treatment.

            1. The hippocratic oath says NOTHING about the ‘interests of society’.

              1. It will need to.

    2. so folks dont recognise the current market-based rationing thru insurance companies?

      1. Of course price is a rationing system. The difference with a market based approach is that I can get as much as I am willing or able to pay for instead of having to wait a year and a half for a hernia operation like I did here in Canada.

    3. 46% of people are of below average intelligence.

  2. …among those who believe that government rationing of health care will likely result from the new law, 63 percent have an unfavorable view of the law in general.

    From that same data, 22% of people who think rationing will result still have a favorable view. Who are these people? Are they just complete blithering idiots, do they not know what “rationing” means, or are they so devoted to ObamaCare they just don’t give a fuck?

    1. Are they just complete blithering idiots, do they not know what “rationing” means, or are they so devoted to ObamaCare they just don’t give a fuck?


    2. Team Blue! Team Blue!

    3. 22% of 54% is a little over 10% of respondents.

      I think that more than 10% of respondents would tell you that “it’s more fair” to have a system where everyone has access to rationed care than one where some people get better care than others in an environment without rationing.

      They let pinkos answer polls, too, you know.

      1. The answer, then, is “blithering idiots’.

        The sort of person who is upset because a person with more money than them may be able to get more than them but ignores that when governmentcontrols these decisions it will be the person with better political connections will get more than they do. Somehow, that is more “fair”.

  3. 94 Percent of Libertarians Expect New Ekins Post Will Lead to Alt-Text Rationing

  4. 54 Percent of Americans Expect New Health Care Law Will Lead to Rationing

    And I’m guessing that about that many joined in the incessant mockery of Sarah Palin’s (TIC) “death panels” lament.

  5. Unnecessary procedures should be rationed out of Medicare. What has this place become? The Tea Party Medicare Preservation Society?

    1. Assuming this is the real shrike and not a spoof:

      Who gets to decide what is “unnecessary”?

      1. In every other area, whoever is paying the bills gets to decide how much they’re willing to pay for.

        I’m not sure why anyone thinks it would be different when the payor becomes Uncle Sam.

        That’s one of the many reasons why people ought to object to Uncle Sam taking things over.

        But as I’ve said many times before we got this monstrosity because Congress wanted to create the impression that it was trying to satisfy the public’s desire to have someone else pay for their medical care. Now the public’s unhappy because they’ve found out that it’s not free and it’s not unlimited.

        1. There is no new “Uncle Sam” program. Private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare will remain the three big payers.

          Obamacare is a gift to private insurance. That is why progressives hate it.

          1. Umm, your reference was to Medicare, which is, most definitely, Uncle Sam’s program.

            Holy shit, why are you getting fucking pissy when someone agrees with you?

          2. And CONgress did pass Obamacare to create the impression it was giving people what they wanted, viz., free healthcare. The fact that they created a gift for insurance company, well, that’s CONgress for you.

            What I continue to be surprised about is that writers at Reason continue to believe that polls showing people don’t like Obamacare mean that people don’t want the government to give them free and unlimited healthcare.

            1. D’oh, “…insurance companies…”

            2. OK. misread that

              1. What I’m waiting for is the poll where someone asks “do you want the govenment to pay for unlimited medical care for you as long as you don’t have to pay any more in taxes?”

                That’s what the country really wanted from Congress.

  6. First, it’s difficult to establish the facts of any matter from an opinion survey.

    Also, we had rationing prior to Obamacare. The difference is that it was done by Insurance Companies, rather than by the government. After all, that is what the whole practice of insurance underwriting was about. Whenever you have a 3rd party payer system in healthcare, there will be rationing by whoever cuts the checks. The question becomes one of who you trust more: an insurance company or the federal government. In fact, the term, “rationing” is so overly broad that it is hard to give it any real meaning in terms of this debate.


    1. Finally, on to your point about expectations of rationing leading to one view or the other on Obamacare: you have to be very careful about reverse causality. If a person hears about Obamacare from mostly critical sources and forms a negative opinion, they may be more likely to accept claims that it will cause rationing of healthcare products; conversely, the opposite may be true if they learn about Obamacare mostly from positive sources and they get develop a positive view of the law.

  7. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

    1. Possibly…

    2. I know where you live, Mary.

  8. Get back to work, John.

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