Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner

Second Advisor

Janet Grigsby




reform, attitudes, health, reforms, care


The primary intention of this paper is to explore the relationship between socioeconomic status and attitudes towards various health care reforms in the current healthcare debate. The framework of this paper is rooted in four healthcare bills presented to Congress in the fall of 2010. In addition to analyzing these bills, this paper selects the most controversial and significant reforms within each bill for survey and research purposes. These reforms include introducing a public option, adjusting Medicaid eligibility to increase coverage, establishing an insurance exchange, instituting employer and individual mandates, and prohibiting insurance companies from denying claims based on lifetime coverage limits, pre-existing conditions or current health status. In order to evaluate attitudes towards these reforms, a twenty-question survey was distributed amongst 100 college students. This survey explores attitudes about reform with a series of Likert-type statements, questions about personal experience with the healthcare system, and general demographics. Results suggest that a majority of college students are supportive of comprehensive health care reform. Although demographic diversity was limited, results suggest that socioeconomic status and gender affect attitudes about health care reform. Generally, both women and individuals who reported a net family income of less than $60,000 were more supportive of comprehensive reform, while men and individuals who reported a net income of over $60,000 were less supportive of widespread reform. However, due to sample-size limitations, further research is required to verify and substantiate these initial results.