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In this paper I present a framework based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion to explain the interplay of self-interest with symbolic beliefs and sociotropic perceptions in determining policy preferences. In developing the self-interest framework, I generate three testable hypotheses. I address two of these hypotheses in this paper using individual level survey data on preferences for a system of universal health insurance. The results of these tests provide preliminary support for the self-interest framework and suggest that a new conception of the effect of self-interest on policy preferences is in order.