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62% Say Personal Responsibility for Health More Important Than Health Insurance

While the health care debate continues to dominate the political landscape, most voters feel individual lifestyle choices play a bigger role than their level of medical care in determining how healthy someone is. But there’s a wide partisan gap on the question.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that exercise, diet and lifestyle choices have a bigger impact on someone’s health than health insurance and medical care. Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and think health insurance and medical care are more important. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Yet interestingly while 72% of Republicans and 73% of voters not affiliated with either major political party share the view that lifestyle choices have more impact on someone’s overall health, 55% of Democrats disagree and put more emphasis on health insurance and medical care.

This helps explain why Democrats are strongly supportive of the national health care law which mandates that Americans must be insured. Most Republicans and unaffiliated voters, on the other hand, think that the choice of coverage should be left up to the individual and that the health care law should be repealed.

An independent panel advising the Obama administration released its recommendations last week on how the government should determine what level of coverage most health insurance policies should be required to have. But voters strongly oppose a government-mandated level of health insurance coverage

Most voters also don’t think those who need more health care should be penalized for it. Only 25% feel that a person who goes to the doctor twice as much as someone else should have to pay twice as much for medical coverage. Fifty-nine percent (59%) do not believe someone in that situation should have to pay twice as much. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. But Democrats feel much more strongly than GOP voters and unaffiliateds that those who go to the doctor more often should not have to pay more.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 8-9, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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