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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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why should people go to jail for not being able to buy health insurance but we are keeping and at many times giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants. Many parts of the bill could be good, but also very scary

Tiger woods
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I suffer from anxiety a few years ago and I can not stop taking <a href=”xanax“>http://www.chronic-anxiety.com/products-345.html”>xanax since it helps me a lot to be able to relax and calm my impulses.

Katelyn
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Katelyn

My question is this..If the goverment is going to help people with their healthcare costs who cannot afford it (medicaid) and if the health reform bill passes and more people must be helped in order to have insurance, many of those people choose to spend their money on non-life saving medicines but refuse to pay for the ones they really need. Also, why should people go to jail for not being able to buy health insurance but we are keeping and at many times giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants. Many parts of the bill could be good, but also… Read more »

anon
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anon

If you don’t lower the economic barriers of entry into the profession, then you will not have enough providers……then all care can move offshore

maggiemahar
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jd- I think the will to reduce costs and lift quality is there. The White House, in particular, understands that spiralling health care costs represent “the greatest threat to the U.S. economy” (white house budget director Peter Orszag). We have no choice: we have to rein in health care inflation or watch Medicare go under (in six years the Medicare fund paying for hospitalizaions will be paying out more than it takes in.) And, in the private sector, if we don’t begin to change what we pay for, and how we pay for it (paying for quality and efficiency rather… Read more »

Doc99
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Doc99

People are suspicious of 4000 pages of legislation written in language that lawyers can’t understand. I’d say most folks want health system reform or health insurance reform or both. However, there are too many devils in so many details. Thus far, these bills are less about healthcare and more about taxation and bureaucracy. That, my friends, is not reform; it’s a hostile takeover.

tcoyote
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tcoyote

JD- Far be it from me to substitute my wisdom in a paragraph or two for the 2000 page monstronsities working their way through Congress’s large intenstine. I just think the timing’s wrong. There is not excuse for our having 46 million uninsured people. But even our fiscal capacity is limited and we reached it this spring when we hurled trillions of dollars at fixing our economy. We are a wealthy nation, but we will not remain wealthy if we continue spending money we don’t have. The proper sequence is to find the tools in changing healthcare payment to eliminate… Read more »

jd
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jd

Maggie, I had read your post and a couple others making similar points, and I would really like to believe that there are strong reforms to the delivery of care. I’m not yet convinced, though I’m warming to the idea. Basically, the bill seems to contain a number of provisions that could form effective mechanisms of cost and quality reform IF the political will is present to use the opportunities created by the bill. That is not a foregone conclusion. However, it’s a little hypocritical of me to be skeptical, since one of the main things I’ve been arguing these… Read more »

Margalit Gur-Arie
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Margalit Gur-Arie

jd, why does it have to be politically possible? Obviously the bills are moving up in both houses on Democrat votes alone. Why was it necessary to take the mandate awarded by the people to this President last year, and turn it over to Congress to do as it pleases with almost no guidance? I understand the fear of repeating Clinton’s mistake, but this is an error in the opposite direction.

MD as HELL
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MD as HELL

Lisa,
You are being wamboozled, big time.

LisaLindell
Guest

Regulate the health care industry. Regulate the insurance industry. Don’t mandate individual citizens financially support same. Howcome the government isn’t mandating me to buy groceries every week? Put a roof over my head? I have a real problem being ordered by the government to buy insurance because I exist. If it were affordable, and a good value, most people would buy it. Otherwise, call it what it is, a tax, and just get rid of health insurance companies for whatever services our new taxes are paying for, which clearly we have no idea. I feel like somebody is trying to… Read more »

medinnovationblog.blogspot.com
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medinnovationblog.blogspot.com

Dear Robert: You ask how Democrats can can get reform done in the face of soaring costs and disapproval of the American people. From out of blue heaven, this inspired ten part Eureka and Nirvana-based answer came to me. One, kill the lawyers! Shakespeare and the American people distrust lawyers, especially lawyers in the House and Senate. Americans consistently rank lawyers down there with used car salesmen. As I write, Congressional job approval is at a minus 65 percent, meaning nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. Therefore, we can start reform by ridding ourselves of… Read more »

maggiemahar
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Merle, Sheila and jd Merle, I agree. Sheila & Jd. The legislation under consideration is better than you think. Journalists just haven’t done a very good job of reporting on it. It’s certainly far from perfect, but represents a big step forward. See this post on what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done: http://www.healthbeatblog.com/2009/11/heath-care-reform-looking-at-the-glass-halffull-.html And, as Sheila says, over the next three years, it can be strengthened and refined. In a weak economy, will they go forward with the mandate, subsidies and exchange? Absolutely. They have no choice. As White House budget director Peter Orszag has pointed… Read more »