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Health care reform: emotions and the road ahead

A new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation puts a fresh spin on public attitudes toward health care reform, asking people about their feelings on the elongated process and on the consequences of stopping now.

Majorities of Americans say they're "disappointed" or "frustrated" by the "delays" in the reform process. Fewer, about a third say they're "relieved," "anxious" or "angry." About three in 10 say they're "pleased."

The intensity of the support and opposition to major health care reform has been a critical component in understanding public opinion toward the various proposals and attempted compromises. The Kaiser data is a helpful variant on that, also highlighting areas of public agreement.

As ever, partisan differences abound: majorities of Democrats and independents say they feel disappointed or frustrated, while relieved tops the list among Republicans, the only emotion that cracks the 50-percent-mark among them.

Asked how they would feel if Congress decided to stop work on health care reform, about six in 10 say they'd have a negative reaction -- 20 percent say they'd be "angry," 38 percent "disappointed." About four in 10 are more positive, saying they'd be "relieved" (24 percent) or "happy" (14 percent).

Should Congress continue to work on legislation to revamp the health care system, the Kaiser poll points to five areas of cross-party agreement. In each of the following areas, more than six in 10 Democrats, Republicans and independents alike say it's "extremely" or "very" important that the provisions become law...

Question: For each element of health care reform I name, please tell me how important it is that this be passed into law. (percentage saying extremely or very important.) (Abbreviated question wording below; full versions here.)

1. Reforming the way health insurance works (ie, guaranteed issue, eliminating lifetime benefit caps) ... all adults 76%; Democrats 85%; independents 79%; Republicans 64%

2. Providing tax credits to small businesses ... all adults 72%; Democrats 77%; independents 70%; Republicans 67%

3. Creating a health insurance exchange or marketplace ... all adults 71%; Democrats 78%; independents 71%; Republicans 67%

4. Helping close the Medicare "donut hole" ... all adults 71%; Democrats 78%; independents 70%; Republicans 66%

5. Expanding high-risk insurance pools ... all adults 70%; Democrats 79%; independents 67%; Republicans 61%

By Jon Cohen  |  February 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
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I'm an independent who voted for Obama, and I'm frustrated that it took a year to get this far, but that only means I want Congress to carry this over the finish line as soon as possible, without dropping the ball.

Use the reconciliation process. Who cares if anyone complains. George W. did the same thing many times, and it was fine.

Most elements of the Obama plan are ones that a majority of American's support when asked in blind surveys (that don't identify the ideas with one party or the other).

For example, everyone wants to stop the insurance companies from cancelling policies when people get sick.

And who doesn't want to reduce government spending, net net, $1 TRILLION dollars, as the Obama plan would do?

Pass it, pass it, pass it, pass it, pass it.

Posted by: paul65 | February 23, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

To correct the previous post by Paul65, "reconciliation" has only be used in the past (since 1974, when the Budget Act was adopted) for what it was intended -- to "reconcile" the congressionally-passed budget with revenue and spending-related legislation. It has never been used to implement a major policy, such as health care reform. To be sure, the Democrats will write the health reform "reconciliation" bill to meet Senate and House rules, but that bastardizing the process. It's purely a political power play, and its unprecedented. Democrats will rue the day if they play that card, because more than likely, Republicans will return the favor when (not if, when) they are back in the majority.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | February 23, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Kaiser is a "managed care" organization. I need not remind you that through their wondersulf services, Healther O'Rourke (Poltergeist) died because of their "managed care" model.

After revewing the material, it has become clear that most Democrats want a "free ride" off of productive people.

The unions went "all-in" on King Obummer, hoping that he would get this passed, so their membership would receive adequate health care and not be a drain on the union's balance sheet.

Between the "Louisiana Purchase," "Cornhusker Kickback," Sweetheart Union Deals more taxes and the 1/2 TRILLION DOLLAR raid on the Medicare Trust fund to give the perception of a "cost savings," is bunk.

This administration / monarchy's proposals is DOA. If the last two gubernatorial and a senate race isn't enough to convince these morons, then it is true, stupid is as stupid does.

By the way, where's the Wicked Witch of the West, Nancy "Botox" Pelosi?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | February 23, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

I want to see Marco Rubio get elected in FL vowing to cut Medicare and Social Security.

Posted by: chucko2 | February 23, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan used budget reconciliation in 1981 to pass his record tax cuts. Sent the deficit spiraling out of control. That's the Republican way.

Posted by: chucko2 | February 23, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Most people are in favor of reform, but sadly, the legislation being proposed doesn't reform health care.

It merely redistributes some resources from the rich and healthy to subsidize the poor and unhealthy. This is the Obamahood approach.

More likely than not, the rich will be able to shift the burden to the middle class before having to pay too much. I've noticed that the unions have already managed to skirt their share.

Posted by: postfan1 | February 23, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Kaiser Family Foundation is not the managed care organization Kaiser Permanente. It is a non profit organizaion that studies health care issues. Click the link in the first sentence of this blog for their website.

Posted by: tominPWC | February 23, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

"And who doesn't want to reduce government spending, net net, $1 TRILLION dollars, as the Obama plan would do?"

Paul65 you are a clown. Get back in your clown car and drive away. His plan COSTS $1 trillion and only "cuts" the deficit about $100 billion (and then only if you believe $500 billion will be cut out of Medicare - I don't). When clowns like you try to be serious you end up looking like...well...a clown...

Posted by: Lukey | February 23, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Exile_In_Philly: just Bush-era Republicans never succeeded in using reconciliation for a non-budgetary issue, that does not mean they didn't try... They did!

Posted by: Chrisco | February 23, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is the most dishonest "news organization" on the planet. Americans are frustrated BECAUSE the Socialists just won't stop with their attempted take-over of the best healthcare system in the world.

The Washington Post is not a news organization. It is a social engineering firm that works for the Democratic/Socialist party.

Posted by: Indpnt1 | February 23, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

As the national media plays up Washington is in gridlocked theme this week (look at Time and Newsweek), which is meant to deflect an criticism of their star Obama, the fact remains, that with health care and other major legislative items, Obama and his White House have been ineffective leaders.

Like the poorly crafted stimulus bill, Obama lacked engagement with the Hill on what his true intentions are for health care legislation. If you believe he wanted a public option, then you’re living in a fantasy world, with Daschle representing the insurance industry, and meeting in secret with the White House the public option was NEVER taken serious by Obama. In fact, at the height of the public option debate this summer, Obama went to Cape Cod on vacation, rather than stay in DC and push the public option.

This has health bill has dragged out because Obama either has very poor leadership skills, or the White House wanted to give utility type status to the big health insurance companies.

Posted by: johnnyapplewhite123 | February 23, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Ronald Reagan used budget reconciliation in 1981 to pass his record tax cuts. Sent the deficit spiraling out of control. That's the Republican way.

Posted by: chucko2 |

Not true checko.......... Congress passed Reagan's tax cuts......Tip O'Neil didn't want them but they majority voted for it.

Then Congress, Tip O'Neil, was suppose to cut spending...........but Democrats NEVER cut spending as We The People are clearly seeing now...........

Just more historical facts folks.

Posted by: allenridge | February 23, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is the most dishonest "news organization" on the planet. Americans are frustrated BECAUSE the Socialists just won't stop with their attempted take-over of the best healthcare system in the world.

The Washington Post is not a news organization. It is a social engineering firm that works for the Democratic/Socialist party.

Posted by: Indpnt1 |

Very true......afterall the POST was caught Red-handed pimping for Obama's health care plan for between $25K and $250K

And this dirty liberal/progressive political paper is still working on behalf of the Democrat Party and the Obama Administration.

Of course the POST is dirty and corrpt, no question or doubt about that......

Posted by: allenridge | February 23, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Let the Democrats push their version or the President's version for healthcare reform....

Change will occur in November 2010....and they will lose more seats.


Posted by: analgesic33 | February 23, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

When Indpnt1, like so many other conservatives, claims that reform is an "attempted take-over of the best healthcare system in the world" I want to ask: What about the current US system makes you think it is the "best in the world"?

The fact that it is the most expensive? The fact that we have a mediocre life-expectancy compared to other developed countries? The fact that in the US patients have a choice of either getting treatment, but going bankrupt, or foregoing treatment, but dying?

How many other countries has Indpnt1 been in to observe the way they deliver their health care before claiming that the US has the best?

Posted by: PeterIII | February 23, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

NO NO NO - most people are frustrated in knowing that an expensive mandated monstrosity like this MIGHT pass - the Post needs to get that through their thick skulls.

Posted by: birvin9999 | February 23, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

During the administration of President George W. Bush, Congress used reconciliation to enact three major tax cuts. These tax cuts were set to lapse after 10 years to satisfy the Byrd Rule. Efforts to use reconciliation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling failed. (Wikipedia)

Posted by: chase-truth | February 23, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

A Republican commentator was quoted:

Our constituents heads are in the clouds most of the time.

So while all of you do have computer in front of you, all you have to do is search the word
"reconciliation" and you would be surprised to see the GOP lying through it's teeth.

And to Democrats; stop getting your nickers in an uproar when you know the Republicans wrote the book on dirty tricks and tactics.

You don't remember all the lies told to get us into war?

Read below;

Despite their howls against Obama, Republicans employed the same procedure to pass major Bush agenda items (which were supported by all four aforementioned Senators):

– The 2001 Bush Tax Cuts [HR 1836, 3/26/01]
– The 2003 Bush Tax Cuts [HR 2, 3/23/03]
– Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 [HR 4297, 5/11/06]
– The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 [H. Con Res. 95, 12/21/05]

Posted by: rbraun2000 | February 23, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

We could have had an improved health care system if the Republicans had behaved responsibly and offered a meaningful alternative to Democratic proposals. They have chosen instead to listen to professional nay-sayers like Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin and to spout formulaic slogans instead of engaging with the issues. Last year, I had a non-malignant tumor removed. The bill was equivalent to one-fourth of our gross annual household salary. Suffice to say that my wife and I were relieved that our managed care plan found the right specialist and paid the bills. Our adult sons and daughter couldn't have gotten that treatment because they couldn't have afforded it, even with the conventional health insurance that they have. Likewise, my wife and I have had four knee replacement surgeries. Again, no problem with managed care. The result of all this is that we have been able to continue our careers, to remain productive members of society, and to pay our taxes. At the same time, we have seen people who weren't able to continue their careers because they couldn't afford medical treatment and had to accept being disabled.
The only way to bring about improvement is for both parties to address the issue constructively. Calling people socialists (when they really aren't) and shouting "No, no, no!" don't accomplish a thing. That may be fine in a perfect world, but this world isn't perfect. I hope the Republicans get some ideas to bring to the table (and then don't back away from their own proposals like John McCain did) or that they get chased out of Washington for the obstructionists they have become.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 23, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Government run healthcare sounds suspiciously like a scam similar to the 'global warming' scam used to take money from Americans. If they truly were concerned with the American citizens they would be concerned with jobs for legal American citizens and stopping the influx of foreign labor when we are strapped for work. By forcing young people to pay for insurance they don't need or use, and paying for abortions as well as poor care for the elderly so they die quicker, they hope to make a bundle. I'm not sure how much of all that is still in there but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't try to sneak it all back in. We need to vote every one of them out of office as soon as we can. Maybe we can find some true patriots who feel our constitution is worthy enough to abide by, and is not as cold hearted and greedy as the ones in there now.

Posted by: eve4 | February 23, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

i like how none of the questions ask how much this these will cost, or reminds people of our deficits and debt already piled up.

Posted by: dummypants | February 23, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

im guessing if american were asked if they wanted a ferrai they would say "yes" yet they dont go out and by them in great numbers.

these polls are infantile and meaninguless

Posted by: dummypants | February 23, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

ahem....I am going to say something meaningful....ahem....SOCIALIST COMMUNIST NAZI IVORY TOWER PROGRESSIVES WHO HATE AMERICANS WHO DON'T HAVE EDUMACATIONS....Now that we got that out of the way, can we discuss the issues?

Posted by: brandonesque | February 23, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Yes, lets get the polls straight about the delay shall we. The people want health care. Not health care with socialist strings attached. The people are not against health care. Their against higher taxes and the harm it will do to the economy because of the attention President Obama has paid to the health care over everything else. What has President Obama done about job losses. Nothing. Up to this point everything has been a side issue. The delay was due to President Obama and the Democrats and the hidden details of the health care bill they wanted kept secret. Let's not pretend President Obama didn't try to get fast track passage on something as important to higher taxes and a higher deficit without any details. If the health care bill just covered those without insurance then it went would have went over better then it is now. Instead President Obama is forcing every American to purchase his government health care with threats of fines and jail time. That was the delay. The closed door meetings with special deals, that was the delay. The tone attitude of President Obama and the Democrats, that was the delay. The secrecy of the details of the health care bill, that was the delay. The language that had to be changed for the Democrats in the House and the Senate to vote for the bill, that was the delay. Funding abortion and death panels in the health care bill, that was the delay. Don't give us these bogus polls which don't ask the right questions. The poll questions should be. Do you want health care with socialist strings attached. Do you want health care which will raise taxes and increase the deficit. Do you want health care that will be used to destroy capitalism and the free market. Do you want health care that will be forced down your throats. Do you want health care that will still leave people uninsured. Do you want health care that is going to be used to change America from a free society to a socialist society. Ask these questions, the right questions and see what the polls say. These questions deal with the reality of the delay.

Posted by: houstonian | February 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Ever visited Canada? How about England? They have single payer national health care systems, and the capitalistic free market that some commenters hold sacred is alive and well in both countries. Remember, it's the capitalist free market policing itself that gave us the current recession.

What will the president's program cost? People are guessing. No hospital turns away a person needing care, even those who show up at the emergency room for a sore throat. All of us are paying for that, but how much we're paying isn't entirely clear. We pay some of it to insurance companies and some through government agencies that use tax revenue. Health care reform might actually reduce costs. Even if it didn't, it's not at all clear that it would increase costs.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 23, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

health care reform is essential for 1/6 of the population, myself included.
Republicants cry for the aborted fetuses, but say nothing for the millions who have died and many more who are suffering due to lack of insurance options. Pre-existing conditions prevent millions from obtaining insurance, and many of those that have insurance and get sick are denied coverage, or cancelled.
We don't want a handout. We want coverage that is affordable. Is portable. And is there when you need it to be.
The republicants want the status quo. And their plan is don't get sick. And the insurance companies are only requesting a 20% increase in rates thie year, except in california where they want 39%.
The republicant plan. Higher rates. Higher co-pays. Higher deductibles. More denied coverage. More dead Americans.

Posted by: COLEBRACKETT | February 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"The people want health care. Not health care with socialist strings attached."

People don't want Medicare, Medicaid and VA health benefits?

Just pushing the letters on one's keyboard doesn't make one knowledgeable, accurate or truthful.

Posted by: josh13 | February 23, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Exile_in_Philly... RE: your correction to Paul65 that: "reconciliation" has only been used in the past .... for what it was intended -- to "reconcile" the congressionally-passed budget with revenue and spending-related legislation.

So are you saying it was alright for the republicans to cram all of the "Bush" Tax Cuts down the Dems throats bypassing cloture through reconciliation... which they did 3 times .. but, it is not alright to use if for Health Care?

Posted by: mini1071 | February 23, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Here's how it works now. Insurance is a gamble, based on the possibility that the thing insured against might not happen. You insure your car based on the possibility that you will not have an accident. If you have an accident, you win and the company pays (your claim). If you do not have an accident, the company wins and you pay (your premiums),
With me so far? Okay--the problem with the idea of health care "insurance" is that everybody gets sick and everybody dies. No exceptions. Which means that the only way the insurance companies can make a profit is by denying care. Otherwise they are out of business. The game is rigged.
That is the thing that the insurance companies and their good friends on both sides of the aisle in Washington do not want you to see. If we all saw that, we would do the one thing that would get us out of this mess: remove "insurance" from the equation. Make it a requirement: health care companies may not deny treatment. Just that one change would get us all out of the business of gambling on our health and lining the pockets of the insurers.

Posted by: careforall | February 23, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

The main problem is you are going to pay for it one way or another. If the government is paying for it, the government debt is going to increase. Therefore, buy gold and silver because the only thing your dollar will be good for is wiping your rear. You also need to stock up on non perishable foods while they are cheap. The economic end is coming! You better stock up on ammo. Debt per family is about 100k. At about a 2 trillion dollar increase per year in the national debt, the debt per family will double in 6 years. Have fun paying off that mortgage. You all want something for free. Me! Me! Me! Well, enjoy it while you have it. You are not going to have it much longer. Give up the government credit card. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!

Posted by: h311billy | February 23, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

You are right, eve4. Obamacare, like cap and trade, is a Marxist scam to enslave us

Robert Creamer, a CONVICTED FELON and Obama’s ACORN associate, outlined the guidelines for the Obamacare SCAM in his 2007 book, “Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win.”

As per Creamer’s book, the main objective of Obamacare is only to increase the power of "progressives" (Marxists) through the “democratization of wealth” (socialism/Marxim) as per the teachings of Saul Alinsky. Creamer wrote in his 2007 book:

* “We must create a national consensus that the health care system is in crisis.”
* “Our messaging program over the next two years should focus heavily on reducing the credibility of the health insurance industry....”
* “We need not agree in advance on the components of a plan, but we must foster a process that can ultimately yield consensus.”

As per those guidelines, Obama and his comrades planned to demonize the insurance industry and to agree to ANYTHING to get their scam approved. They don't care about the "components of the plan." All they want is CONTROL over our health care and our lives.

They want complete power as that of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America. They plan to increase their power through the “democratization of wealth” (socialism/Marxism).

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 23, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

jlhare1, Canada and England have socialized health care and the horrendous problems created by anything that's socialized.

Regarding Great Britain, European parliamentarian Daniel Hannan finds incredible that "a free people" like us can voluntarily submit to such a horrendous, expensive and ineffective system like the British health care system. Listen to him:

Regarding the health care system in Canada, Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Anne Doig says her country's health-care system is "sick" and "imploding.",2933,539943,00.html

For meaningful statistics rather than anecdotes, check out the numbers surrounding medical tourism. Apparently, between 60,000 and 85,000 foreigners traveled to America in 2008 to receive medical care. Why would these people come to America if we have lousy health care? It's because we actually have some of the best hospitals and doctors in the world.

Yes, we do need to solve problems, but Obamacare has NOTHING to do with solving problems. It’s just a CRIMINAL SCAM, like cap and trade, to enslave us.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 24, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Paul65, I am also an independent, who was lining to democrats, especially democrats under Howard Dean. I voted for Obama, I had fought fiercely for his nomination and election. Though I am from Illinois, I had not watched much of Obama in action. But I have watched him in action within last year and half. As the result, I do not believe that Obama administration could implement any DECENT health reform, but I do believe that they would fully crash what is left from American economy, considering this health care reform, as their first and main priority (Obama's signature issue), and ignoring other urgent issues. Simply following the agenda of Bush on them. I also believe that, as the result, democrats would pay the heavy price in this year November election. Which is more important - the country's economy would pay even heavier price.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 25, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Pitiful that my previous comment was not posted, but I repeat it. Obama's administration is not able to implement ANY decent health care reform. They have shown it clearly by now. They could of course "cash" Medicare. But to prevent that from happening MA elected Brown. Now, as this health care reform is current administration first and main priority (Obama's signature issue) they would push it through, ignoring most urgent current issues and ruining by these means what is left from American economy and level of life. This agenda would cost dearly to democrats during incoming November election. But it would cost much more to USA economy and statehood. That is what very obvious, Paul65, not anything else of what you were talking about in your posts.

Posted by: aepelbaum | February 25, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh and lets not forget that the "Contract for America" was also passed via reconciliation or that of the 21 times reconciliation has been used Republicans used it 16 times.

But hey why let facts ever obstruct the Republican Party, Fox "News", Sarah Palin or any of the other lackeys under their tent.

In their case the circus never leaves town only the clowns change.

Posted by: stelios007 | March 1, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

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