Politics Influence Decision to Get Insurance
Gallup has conducted nearly 4,000 interviews with uninsured Americans since it began tracking health insurance intentions in September. Looking at this full set of data allows one to get a sense of which subgroups of the uninsured population are more likely or less likely to say they will pay the fine rather than get insurance. An average of 28% since September say they plan to pay the fine. The figures for all major demographic groups are shown on page 2.
A key to making the law succeed is getting younger and, presumably, healthier Americans to sign up for insurance at a time in their lives when they are unlikely to need it. Importantly, the percentage planning to pay the fine is not skewed toward younger uninsured Americans — 26% of the uninsured under age 30 say they are more likely to pay the fine, compared with 30% of those aged 30 and older.
Also, familiarity with the law seems to make little difference in one’s intention to get insurance or pay the fine. Those who are aware of the insurance requirement (30%) are only slightly more likely to say they will pay the fine for not having insurance than those who were unaware of the requirement (24%) prior to being interviewed.
The biggest differences appear by party identification — 45% of uninsured Republicans plan to pay the fine, compared with 31% of independents and 15% of Democrats.
Given that Democrats widely endorse the healthcare law and Republicans widely oppose it, this relationship suggests uninsured Americans’ personal opinions on the law may have as much to do with their decision to get insurance as their current health or income situation.