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A majority of conservative Republican voters polled recently told a survey team that the federal government should provide health insurance for all children whose parents cannot afford private coverage.

The Every Child Matters Education Fund, Washington, a group that is promoting expansion of federal children’s health insurance programs, has published that finding in a report on a nationwide survey of 800 U.S. voters who say they are likely to vote in the 2006 general election.

The researchers at Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc., Washington, who conducted the survey for Every Child found that 79% of the voters surveyed agreed with this statement: “It is our moral responsibility to make sure all children have quality health care and it is important for the federal government to invest in such programs.”

Even more of the participants-82%==agreed that, “If parents become unable to afford or provide health care, every child in America should be covered under a federal health care program that would provide prevention and treatment.

About 75% of the participants said they would support a bill that would require the federal government to pay the full cost of insuring every child below the poverty level and having federal and state governments combine to supply subsidies for “parents of other needy children.”

Support for government health coverage for all needy children was strong across the board, according to Every Child.

The survey participants who showed the most resistance to the idea that the federal government ought to provide health coverage for all needy children were those who identified themselves as conservative Republicans, Every Child says.

About 28% of the participants called themselves conservative Republicans, and conservative Republicans made up the largest ideological bloc. The second biggest bloc, which included liberal and moderate independents, included 21% of the survey participants, Every Child says.

But researchers found that even in the conservative Republican ideological bloc, 62% of the participants said the federal government should provide health coverage for all children whose parents cannot afford coverage, and 41% said they strongly agreed with that proposition.

The researchers also asked whether participants would rather make the federal tax cuts enacted in 2001 permanent for taxpayers with annual incomes over $300,000, or let the tax cuts expire and use the revenue to pay for expanded federal health insurance programs for children.

About 60% of all survey participants said they would prefer expanding children’s health insurance programs, and 21% said they would prefer making the 2001 tax cuts permanent.

In the conservative Republican bloc, 35% of the participants said they supported making the 2001 tax cuts permanent and 37% said they preferred the idea of letting the tax cuts expire and using the money to expand children’s health insurance programs.

At America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, spokesman Mohit Ghose says the results of the Every Child survey were unsurprising.

“We completely agree with the idea of providing access to health coverage not just for children, but for everyone,” Ghose says.

Most other participants in health policy discussions also seem to agree on that point, Ghose says.

Today, Ghose says, the question is not whether solutions are needed, but whether policymakers want innovative solutions developed by organizations in the private sector or one-size-fits-all, government-run solutions.

At AHIP, “we believe there ought to be targeted solutions for specific populations,” Ghose says.