By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Most Americans don't expect a health care overhaul to affect their lives directly, but those who worry about the fallout outnumber those expecting to come out ahead, a poll out Tuesday has found.
The survey by the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that Americans are tuning in to the debate in Washington, with 60% saying they're following it very closely or fairly closely.
Most see a change ahead for the nation, and they're divided on whether that will be for good or ill. But when it comes to their own personal lives, Americans say they don't expect much of an impact.
Asked how the health care overhaul would affect their own access to medical care, 57% said it would stay the same. Similarly, 61% said their personal financial situation would stay about the same.
Among those who do expect a change, 28% said they thought their access to care would get worse, while 15% said they thought it would improve. On finances, 27% said they thought the health care bill would make them worse off financially, while 12% expected an improvement.
"The majority of Americans do have health insurance, so to the extent they see the reform debate as a way to expand coverage for the uninsured, they may not see that they stand to gain as much from it," said Brian Quinn, a senior researcher with the foundation, which supports the general goals of health care reform.
Answers shifted when the poll asked about changes in store for the country as whole. Fewer than 30% thought things would stay the same if Congress passes legislation.