Public Anxiety Meets The Democratic Effort to Get Health Care Done at All Costs

The latest polls are an unmitigated disaster for Democratic efforts to get their health care bills passed.

This from Rasmussen this morning:

“Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the lowest level of support measured for the plan in nearly two dozen tracking polls conducted since June.

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% now oppose the plan.

“Half the survey was conducted before the Senate voted late Saturday to begin debate on its version of the legislation. Support for the plan was slightly lower in the half of the survey conducted after the Senate vote.

“Prior to this, support for the plan had never fallen below 41%. Last week, support for the plan was at 47%. Two weeks ago, the effort was supported by 45% of voters.

“Intensity remains stronger among those who oppose the push to change the nation’s health care system: 21% Strongly Favor the plan while 43% are Strongly Opposed.”

But it is not just Rasmussen that is measuring a dramatic slip in approval ratings for the Democrats on health care. Here are the last five consecutive polls released in the last week:

  • Fox – Favor 35% Oppose 51%
  • Quinnipiac – Favor 35% Oppose 51%
  • CBS News – Favor 40% Oppose 45%
  • CNN Favor – 46% Oppose 49%
  • PPP Favor – 40% Oppose 52%

(Source: http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/healthplan.php. Polls taken November 13 to 18)

On Sunday, in his column “A Budget-Buster in the Making,” David Broder had this to say:

“I have been writing for months that the acid test for this effort lies less in the publicized fight over the public option or the issue of abortion coverage than in the plausibility of its claim to be fiscally responsible.

“This is obviously turning out to be the case. While the CBO said that both the House-passed bill and the one Reid has drafted meet Obama’s test by being budget-neutral, every expert I have talked to says that the public has it right. These bills, as they stand, are budget-busters.”

I keep asking the same question: How can the Democrats ram anything so big and complex through as these health care bills with approval ratings–now in the 35% to 40% range–so low?

They seem intent on showing us.

Robert Laszweski has been a fixture in Washington health policy circles for the better part of three decades. He currently serves as the president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates of Alexandria, Virginia. Before forming HPSA in 1992, Robert served as the COO, Group Markets, for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. You can read more of his thoughtful analysis of healthcare industry trends at The Health Policy and Marketplace Blog, where this post first appeared.

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