The idea that everyone should have access to a basic level of health care appears to be losing support, according to a university survey.

"Maybe people see it as another feeding at the public trough," says Lois Haggard, director of the University of Utah Survey Research Center. "It's hard for people to see that they are paying for it already."Since April 1992, the center has conducted six polls asking, "Would you say all Utahns should or should not have equal access to a basic level of health care?"

The first five surveys showed two-thirds of those questioned believed all residents should have access. The latest poll, conducted in October, found 52 percent supporting the idea.

Haggard speculates the decline in support may be due to the unveiling of the Clinton administration's health-care reform package.

"This might be a case of reality setting in. Basic care is a nice idea, but now that steps are being taken in that direction, people are hesitant," she said.

Support for access to basic health care also follows political party affiliation, Haggard says.

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About 42 percent of those identifying themselves as Republican said all Utahns should have equal access to health care, compared with 72 percent of Democrats.

The survey asked Utahns what they would do given the choice of spending $50,000 to provide basic health care for many people or the same amount for a single medical procedure for one person facing a life-threatening situation.

More than 65 percent said they would spend the money on providing basic health care, while 20 percent said they would pay for the single procedure.

But asked if the person in the life-threatening situation was an immediate family member, the results flipped with 66 percent saying they would spend the money on their relative and 21 percent said they would spend it on health care access for many.

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