More Polls Show Support for Public Health Care Option

Conservative bloggers have been working hard to discredit the results of a New York Times/CBS News poll that showed strong public support for a government-administered health care option to run alongside privately insured health care. Nate Silver has made their job harder with two recent posts which indicate that that support is real, although Nate cautions us about “schlocky” methodology on some of them.

Also at FiveThirtyEight, Ed Kilgore takes a look at the implications of these poll results for the “bipartisan approach” that Pres. Obama has said he wants to take toward health care reform:

So the question must be asked: if Barack Obama wants to conduct a bipartisan approach to universal health care, what does that mean in terms of the public option? Killing or watering down the public option in order to (maybe) attract the support of Sen. Chuck Grassley, and not much of anybody else in the congressional Republican ranks? Or maintaining it to appeal to rank-and-file Republicans, who favor it despite the views of their “leaders” and the polarized atmosphere in Washington?

I ask this question because I’ve felt all along that President Obama’s concept of bipartisanship is focused on appealing to rank-and-file Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, not to congressional Republicans. This approach, moreover, forces congressional Republicans to choose between cooperating or, more likely, increasing their polarization efforts in order to hang onto their rank-and-file base, which also tends to increase their isolation from the swing voters they may actually need in the future.

I understand that Obama and congressional Democrats may need cooperation from Grassley or a few others for short-term tactical reasons in the Senate. But ultimately, “bipartisanship” on health care may actually mean looking past congressional Republicans and pitting them against their own supporters across the country, particularly on the public option.

Paul Krugman has more in his column today about what “bipartisan” means given how highly large majorities of Americans rate the importance of a public health care option being part of any legislation to achieve universal health care in this country:

The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by “centrist” Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around “centrist,” by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.

6 Responses to “More Polls Show Support for Public Health Care Option”

  1. Jack Jodell says:

    As my blog states in its current post, our present system is in horrible shape and in definitely urgent need of a massive overhaul. Not only that, the evidence strongly shows this “best health care system in the world” as conservatives love to claim is NOT giving us the best bang for the health care buck and is NOT delivering as it should!

  2. JohnHolmes says:

    These most recent polls demonstrate how to change the questions if you’re dissatisfied with the original result …. in an attempt to sway public opinion. Yes, now its “More” people favor universal coverage, yea, ok. Most people are satisfied with their own plan but would like lower costs and coverage for the uninsured.

    Meanwhile one has to ask if ANY government run Healthcare System is better than what we have now. Does anyone think Medicare, Medical (in CA), or the VA is run well?? If your answer is “No” then why should Government be put in charge of even more??

    The compelling point from the Administration is that their program will save money … yes, somehow “we” will save money … yet the CBO reports the first Trillion Dollars will only cover 1/3 of he uninsured for the first 10 years at a cost of roughly $66,000 per person … hardly a savings. So of course Pelosi/Obama want to get rid of the CBO’s involvement. When has he Government been good at running a business or saving money?? Has anyone here ever had to deal with Government Bureaucrats?? … never fun, quick, nor efficient.

    Obama’s plan to halt foreclosures and get homeowners refinanced hasn’t worked, has had Zero effect. So why should we trust Obama with Health Care?

  3. JohnHolmes says:

    Jack: What system is better? Why not just fix the problems with our current system rather than force a complete takeover? I see a few problems with the current system as well. First, Employer/Private Insurance Companies subsidize the Government run portions and indirectly cover the uninsured. So I pay more money now because of Medicare and the Uninsured. In one example I read recently a Doctor said he gets paid $700 from Medicare and $2400 from Private insurance for the same Cataract Procedure. Recently my kid broke his nose and we got billed $4800 bucks for 2 XRays and 15 minutes worth of a Doctor’s time … “yep, its broke” they said!! Insurance covered about $4k of it.

    Secondly I agree that someone without Insurance shouldn’t be billed Thousands of Dollars for an emergency visit. It’s really a disgrace … an ambulance ride, a few XRays, 20 minutes of a Doctor’s time, a few pain Killers and a cast can easily run $4000 – $10,000 … so that part is a disgrace, it can bankrupt a person for a relatively minor Hospital visit.

    Those the biggest problems I see. Medicare needs to pay more rather than dictating costs and the uninsured need to get billed rationally or be granted some kind of Medicare coverage.

    A government takeover is NOT the solution. Under this Ted Kennedy plan, Ted himself would already be dead, not allowed to get the risky unproven and expensive treatments keeping him alive.

  4. jacksmith says:


    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

  5. Jack Jodell says:

    Jacksmith, I’m with you 100%. There is a lot of deliberate misinformation going around about the public option, how it will “take over” or “replace” our current private system. That talk is nonsense. Any system geared overwhelmingly for profit rather than protection, and one which by its very nature excludes millions and can’t keep costs in line, is not a system in need of a few minor tune-ups. It is a system in need of some strong competition and a MAJOR OVERHAUL! The needs of the majority far outweigh the wants of the greedy or fearful few, and those needs MUST be met!

  6. JohnHolmes says:

    Jack/Jack: That’s about the dumbest, most uninformed knee-jerk set of talking points ever copied and pasted. Profit does not mean greed, Public does not mean good nor efficient. We spend up to 10x more than whom?? F’ing Cambodians?? You are stooopid. Private Insurance covers the shortfalls left by Medicare and the Uninsured … who still get treated. I agree the cost of healthcare is way too high, but when have Government Bureaucrats ever solved such a problem?? Medicare, Social Security, and the VA are 3 Government systems which are abject failures. Are we supposed to ignore this?? Canada and the UK save money by rationing care, not through better treatment. How long are you willing to wait for an MRI?

    Kathy: We didn’t have to work hard to discredit the NY Times poll, we just had to read it:

    Until these polling groups get more honest, we won’t really know where the public stands. Until then the NY Times and other Media Outlets are but an arm of Obama’s Administration, a propaganda tool …


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