TALLAHASSEE -- In a state where 20 percent of the population is uninsured, Florida voters are opposed to a major Democratic plan to provide more health care coverage, according to a Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 poll.
About 47 percent oppose the so-called "public option," while 40 percent support the proposal to provide a government-run insurance plan.
Voters opposed the public option in every area of the state except one: South Florida. There, 54 percent favor the proposal and only 37 percent are opposed. The area with the strongest opposition: Southwest Florida, where 30 percent support the proposal and 50 percent oppose it.
The telephone survey of 600 registered voters was conducted Oct. 25-28 for The Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9. The poll was done by Schroth, Eldon and Associates, whose clients primarily are Democrats, and the Polling Co., which mainly works with Republicans. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Semi-retired landscaper Rick Nelson is a registered Independent living in Deltona. Nelson, 62, moved to Florida 23 years ago after growing up in New Hampshire. He said he does not want Congress to pass healthcare reform that includes the public option.
"We've got enough welfare going on in this country,'' Nelson said. "All this is, is another type of welfare.''
Nelson pays for his United Health Care insurance and said he doesn't trust the government to run a healthcare program as well as his private insurer.
"Look at the post office and all these other government-run programs,'' he said. "They're all broke or bankrupt. You think I want them running my healthcare? No way.''
Air Force veteran Leroy Worthen, a Republican retiree in Fort Walton Beach, echoed the thought.
"Any time the government starts to run something, they run it into the ground,'' said Worthen, 62. "If the government is so good at running things, why are Medicaid and Medicare failing?''