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Poll Stokes Health-Reform Fire

Our Readers Who Comment are all over a new Washington Post - ABC News poll that suggests opposition to health-care reform has eased somewhat, especially if the so-called public option disappears from the legislation.

At the same time, as reporter Dan Balz and pollster Jon Cohen write, "55 percent say they like the idea" of the public option." That statement caused a number of readers to observe that 55 percent is a majority and ask why the public option be dropped.

Others feel strongly that the only thing worse than an insurance company is something the government runs and fears of socialism run through the comment thread.

We'll start with this exchange:

maq1 asked, "Anyone else notice how the same democrats that attack the President for being too easy on republicans unintentionally undermine their own camp by making it appear riven with dissent?...Liberals need to figure out how to balance their admirable commitment to debate and free exchange of ideas with the political strength that comes from standing behind your popular president, even when it means you have to sacrifice something."

But Single_Payer replied, "Yes. But the supporters of the president should not allow him to swerve and zig zag and over-compromise unnecessarily. The President must take firm stands and be for, and about the benefit of those who helped put him in the White House. He should not try to slip an important issue like public option drop as an excuse to further compromise."

richcpl was one of several who asked, "Huh? If 55 percent of the public favors the public option, after two months of withering, blistering vilification and scurrilous lies about it -- and it's still 55 percent? That's a landslide in most elections. Shouldn't that be the theme of the story?"

georged1, wrote, "wow - a ton of socialists on this site -- all clamoring for government owned health care. Won't it be wonderful to go into get your exam and be faced with the same mind-numbing slowness, inefficiency and paper hurdles we now only get to enjoy at the DMV. Ugh."

Single_Payer suggested, "...Reject any plan to mandate private health insurance. Insist on Medicare for all, even if it is incremented one decade at a time with a temporary public option that expires when universal coverage is achieved."

michael4 wrote, "Assuming claims are properly paid, the only difference between "public and private" is administrative costs, copays, deductibles and co-insurance. Why people would want to limit their options to only private companies is pretty stupid. If private companies "can't compete" it's because customers aren't as satisfied as they are with the alterntives..."

1234xyz said, "...Free markets are great, but not for essential services."

And ScottinNC agreed, writing, "Excellent point! The essential problem with a free-market insurance system is that insurers maximize profits by denying as many claims as possible to existing clients and refusing to cover prospective clients who are at a high risk. The most efficient way to cover all Americans would be for all private insurance companies to be non-profit..."

prossers7 said, "To state that opposition to reform is easing is wishful thinking, I'm afraid. If anything, opposition is growing steadily and cannot be slowed or reversed at this point. The people know about too many hidden, negative initiatives within the health care reform bills to ever trust any portion of it now..."

hipshot wrote, "Both the Republican plan and the Democratic plan are giant experiments. The problem with the public option is that it is an irreversible experiment. The resulting cultural and political inertia is then toward a permanent left-of-center position, where everyone goes to the government when they have a problem... The concept of "social justice" sounds great on paper, but in practice it just concentrates power in one group."

postfan1 said, "I think most people in the U.S. want some kind of health care reform. But most people don't agree with THESE plans... Why do our doctors make three times as much as other developed nations? Why are lawsuits unlimited? Why do pharmaceutical companies charge more in the U.S. than in other countries, in spite of the fact that we make up half their business? Until these questions are answered, I don't consider these proposals to be true health care reform..."

wmboyd wrote, "Best analysis I heard said that Obama can not concede the public option until the insurance companies agree to eliminate "pre-existing" conditions and/or agree to provide insurance (at a reasonable price) to anyone who wants it... In every contest, the profit motive will always overcome any moral objectives, given enough incentive....$$$"

We'll close with this exchange:

ianmac37 said, "If we were to act rationally and eliminate the private health insurance and set up a full national health plan we would end up paying much less in taxes than we currently shovel out to the insurance companies and their overpaid executives... The only people who gain from the present system are those in the insurance industry."

But georged1 wrote, "wow - liberals sure think THEY are the smart ones and conservatives are dumb... The only thing worse than an insurance agent between you and your doctor is a government."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 14, 2009; 8:22 AM ET
 | Tags: Health-Care Reform, Obama, Poll, Public Option  
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* THE FINE ART OF DENYING 45 MILLION AMERICANS HEALTH~CARE IN OUR JUDEO~CHRISTIAN NATION *


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Posted by: DOUGLASFIELD2 | September 18, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Health Care For my Mom

This blog is to follow the responses from the government and the media following a letter I sent on supporting healthcare reform. I plan to post all responses no matter what the content as the healthcare reform continues to struggle for life just as my Mom does.

http://reformformymom.blogspot.com/

Posted by: rogers_corey | September 15, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Get the stupid plans out there so everybody can see them I mean everybody, not just the government elfs. If the end of the line doesn't include some type of competition for the insurance companies; I've personally voted for the last time. I hope every citizen feels the same way and boycotts all elections/votes. I'm tired of the greed in capitolism. Time to give it up.

Posted by: linda_521 | September 14, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone realize that regulation of the mortgage industry put us where we're at today fiscally? It started with Clinton and snowballed. After all, poor people had a right to homes they couldn't afford so banks were made to give them loans-regulations you know and on the democrat side. By all means, let's give those dame folks Frank, Pelosi and Dodd the opportunity to regulate the heck out of our health care system as their track records are so fabulous to date.

Posted by: thebink | September 14, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

BY the way everyone, and especially the spineless cowardly Democrats; what you are discussing is how Health Care will be paid and by whom!! The real issue here is what if anything do the Health Insurance parasites provide in providing Health Care?? Their "fee" for playing with "our" money averages 30%; and I fail to see anything beneficial being provided by these companies and the horror stories seem to be endless! And I know I feel totally screwed whenever I see the pay these "Moguls" get for stealing our money!!

Why does anyone want to keep paying these evil thieves our money????

Posted by: Chaotician | September 14, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Plenty for GOP to like means that there is plenty for sane Americans not owned by Corporations to hate! Anything supported even with lip service by Republicans is guaranteed to be a disaster for America and a expensive empty promise for citizens!

Posted by: Chaotician | September 14, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

President Obama’s speech last week really moved me. Despite what my colleagues think of me. If what he says is what will EXACTLY happen, how can I not hope and work towards that cause”? Mike Oliphant runs a small Utah health insurance website http://www.benefitsmanager.net/SelectHealth.html and http://www.dentalinsuranceutah.net whom deals with hundreds of people on a day to day struggle to be approved for health insurance. “I get hopeful that I can finally tell people they can qualify for coverage REGARDLESS of their pre-existing medical condition”. Mike’s concern is that Obama’s people won’t deliver what he urges on areas within his speech. “I really have been moved by this guy and wish we could just talk so he could understand the frustration of a health insurance agent. I have been involved on a political level within the state of Utah and their struggle for health care reform. I have seen and regrettably been part of politics at work. I have learned lessons through baptism of fire with politics. For instance, I struggled against House Speaker Clark and H.B. 188 because that was what I was urged to do from our industry (that was all I knew). But after awhile and countless meetings with state and private carriers in Utah, I began asking myself if I was doing the right thing. I realized over time that House Speaker Clark really means what he says and is hard nose about getting reform done in Utah. I got that there wasn’t any behind the scene conspiracy scheme or personal objective of Mr. Clark. His bill makes allot of positive changes in the “health insurance reform” world of Utah. He claims that reform just doesn’t stop there, it must continue through “health care reform”. You see, there is a major difference between the two reforms. Clark “gets it” but I really worry that Obama’s administration doesn’t because if you have noticed the subtle language change of dropping “health care reform” and going to “health insurance reform”. See more about what Utah has accomplished here which utilizes private carrier involvement with true reform. If you can believe it, they reached it with an objective of $500,000. Perhaps the feds should take a look at Utah and House Speakers Clark’s bill 188. http://www.prweb.com/releases/utah_health_insurance/health_care_reform/prweb2614544.htm. Now I find myself on the “other side” of the fence furthering Utah’s cause. Let’s hope we don’t all have a mental breakdown nationally and just take a honest look at the proposals.

Posted by: mikeoliphant1 | September 14, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand Obama's health care plan, what's covered, what's not, who's covered, who's not, who pays for it & where is the money coming from ? Why can't I get some "honest" answers ? BTW, I'm sick of the Republicans & their "hate machines" They'll oppose anything the President tries to do.

Posted by: wasaUFO | September 14, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

In response to dsdling: "I'd like to respond to those who think that regulation is free to tax payers. It's actually very expensive.:

Sometimes NOT regulating is even more expensive, both in terms of federal dollars, and human cost.

We regulate industrial emissions because preventing toxic waste is a lot cheaper than cleaning it up. And because we can't put a price tag on the lives and health of citizens such regulations protect.

Is over regulation a risk? Sure. I think the reduced regulations in the aviation industry generally benefited consumers - at least in terms of their ticket costs.

It simplistic to oppose or support the regulatory arm of the government.

It's all in the details, folks.

Posted by: baldandy | September 14, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

All of those who are medicare recipients and are oppossed to what they call "government run socialized medicine" should be allowed to withdraw from medicare and have their actual contributions to medicare used to pay premiums to a private health insurance carrier of their choice.

Doubt that there would be many takers.

Posted by: WESHS49 | September 14, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to respond to those who think that regulation is free to tax payers. It's actually very expensive. The amount of data gathering and reporting that is required, in addition to compliance efforts, is enough that many companies wait as long as they can to go public. As long as they are private, they don't have to jump through all of the compliance and paperwork hoops required once they are publicly traded. While I don't know what the costs would be to add this work to the health insurers and perhaps it's a less expensive alternative, you can bet whatever it does cost will be passed along to their membership. Not a disagreement with the other points regarding regulation, just a reminder of what regulation actually costs.

Posted by: dlsding | September 14, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to everyone posting, the debate is not about free markets and socialism - there is no free market in the insurance business - you have to sign up with the company your employer provides, or go buy it (with post-tax dollars and not subsidized by your employer) on your own. That is why the "free market" option should be on the table - let insurance companies compete across state lines; provide tax breaks for people to go out and buy the insurance that best suits them. GEICO and Progressive fight for our car insurance business; let the health insurance companies fight for our health care business.

Posted by: DoubledownDC | September 14, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse


sigmonde, if anyone is laughing at your comment, it is because of its monumental stupidity...now, go back to watching Faux News with your Glen Beck drool cup, m'kay?

Posted by: LABC | September 14, 2009 10:48 AM

======

And yet as stupid as you maintain sigmonde is, he managed to make a point while you did not.

Posted by: robert17 | September 14, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

When concern about run-away health care costs bobbed to the surface, Americans wanted a simple solution. They wanted a more regulated insurance industry, at the national level, that restricted cancellations and denials along profit lines and capped premiums so insurance would be safe, portable and affordable, regardless of health, age or gender.

Limiting malpractice awards based on need not greed (vs set caps) became another area of concern, as Americans recognized that insane settlements increased malpractice premiums, which increased defensive testing, adding as much as 10% to the average doctor bill.

Some even suggested we tear down the state boundary barricades and let all 1,300 insurers compete across state lines, rather than limit Americans to a few insurers within their state. Competing across state lines would drive cots down, reducing premiums resulting in less need for government involvement and funding.

This simple request to make insurance available to all, at an affordable cost, has grown into a huge socialized medicine experiment with a price tag of $900B over a decade. No one involved with the program however guarantees costs will not exceed $900B. Nor do they guarantee a “search and destroy” mission will uncover sufficient Medicare and Medicaid waste to offset some or most of this cost.

Americans don’t want a socialized medicine experiment – they just want the government to enact laws that protects their right to buy affordable health insurance, without fear of it being cancelled or legitimate claims denied.

Enacting simple laws to tighten up regulation of the insurance industry is what Americans want and need NOW! It will cost the tax payers NOTHING!

Posted by: asmith1 | September 14, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I personally would like to keep the private coverage an option. I do think people being denied insurance which results in denial of care for things such as a pre-existing illness has to stop. I think we need to have a choice in going with the private sector or the government offered plan. Right now there really are no options and the insurance companies take advantage of that. But the "right to choose" is what this country is all about

Posted by: jboles1 | September 14, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

A personal note:

Last year my aunt, in her early 60's, having been laid off from her long time employer, worked independently as a part time housekeeper, without health insurance coverage.

When she became ill, she felt she couldn't afford to go to the doctor, and she tried to just grit through it.

Ultimately she almost died, and had one leg amputated.

If this story - 100% true and happening every day to other Americans - doesn't piss you off on a personal level, think about it as a taxpayer:

Her condition THEN qualified her for Medicaid, and the taxpayers wound up footing hundreds of times more dollars for her care and recovery than if they had paid for treating her at first symptons.

There are alot of good ideas from both sides on reform and curbing costs...but if we do NOTHING, people will continue to fall into my aunt's scenario.

Posted by: baldandy | September 14, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Why stop at government run health care.? Let's have the government take over the food and food distribution industries. Free food for everyone. But, let's go all the way - free government housing for everyone. Think about it - free food, housing and health care and no need to work.

Posted by: Sigmonde | September 14, 2009 10:43 AM

If you turn your post into propaganda, it doesnt advance the consideration. Healthcare is the consideration.
The rest is propaganda.
No one is proposing that you dont have to work.
And no one proposed that people not work, in communist countries, either. Your extension to the ridiculous is inappropriate propaganda.
And the proposed health care system is not going to be free.
Its just not going to cost double every 5 years.
Medicare runs on 1/10th the percentage that private insurance takes. Compare the actual numbers.
Stop the lies about food and houses and work, propagandist.

Posted by: ottothewise | September 14, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

To Sigmonde: Have you heard of the slippery slope fallacy? Look it up.

But to take your bait at a larger debate on the scope of government: We don't need the US federal government to tell us which brand of toothpaste to buy. We DO need the government to ensure that ANY brand of toothpaste on our store shelves does not contain mercury or other dangerous ingredients.

Yes, we've seen examples of pure socialism that failed. We've also seen examples of pure laissez-faire that also failed.

There was a period of time in our history when we presumed private businesses always acted in the general interest. But industry did not LEAD the path for stopping child labor, providing minimum wages, ending dangerous working conditions, or guaranteeing the safety of the food we purchase. Industry FOUGHT those reforms tooth and nail. Always a cry that the changes would cut profits and hurt the economy.

More recently, the near laissez-faire attitude of hands off the financial market led to last year's crisis that we are still recovering from.

We need both public and private roles in our economy and society. It is time to ignore the extremists on both sides who think business is all evil - on one side - or those on the other side who repeatedly deride any government role.

Back to the health care debate: If the reforms prohibit denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, prohibit capping benefits, enable people to keep coverage when changing jobs...and provide funding to subsidize low income workers...without a public option, then I am all for it.

If we give some back to the private insurers - via an individual mandate, malpractice reform, permit national insurance plans - and they still can't compete under the reforms.. oh well.

The health of Americans is intrinsically bound in our econominc and personal security and cannot be sacrificed because some parties aren't making a profit.

Posted by: baldandy | September 14, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Hello,
70% of the healthcare dollars come from the government. It's already socialized medicine-trust me I am Doctor. All the money squeezable money is with the insurance companies. Reform of the other 30% and the system is needed. You already receive discounted services from healthcare providers already!

Posted by: braxtj | September 14, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I see! Socialized medicine is good enough for our veterans, good enough for our seniors, but not good enough for the rest of us. Think about that!

Posted by: neatnix | September 14, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

but it worked well in the Soviet Union and East Germany and it's working well now in North Korea..

Posted by: Sigmonde | September 14, 2009 10:43 AM

Did you know, Sigmonde, that the Soviet Union had to spend 1/3 of their GDP on defense? Did you know, Sigmonde, that the USA and English invaded the Soviet Union with an army of 100,000 men one summer in 1927? Comparisons to an economy under siege are not 'fair', equal or useful.

So... you think speculation on food stuff commodities is a great thing eh? Wait until 2012 when the artificial shortages are created, and let's see you whine about the capitalists rampant greed THEN.

Posted by: ottothewise | September 14, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

amapper wrote:The actual number of individuals without health insurance, deducting the illegals, younger folks who don't feel they need it and folks who just pay as they go is much lower than the 47 million that is bandied about. Take care of them and leave the rest of us alone.

THAT's THE PLAN. Obama said at the Congress speech, his people figure about 5% of the population will be in the public option at the start.

We will leave you alone. Except we will stop your insurance company from dropping you, if you get an expensive illness.
That has to change. Perhaps you are willing to go along with that CHANGE. RSVP

Posted by: ottothewise | September 14, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I observe many fearful posts about lines, once we let the riff-raff into the medical system. Notice, that we already have government involvement in the healthcare system, its called the Senate of the USA. They hold down the number of residents, (who will become MDs) by a figure dictated by the AMA, the MDs union.

There are indeed, not enough MDs. That has to change.
The SENATE has to increase the number of residents permitted in the USA each year, and right now.

Also, we can start new Federal Medical schools. That ought to give the right wing something to moan about for a few weeks.
We need 1000's of additional MDs to deal with the new clients we are creating by paying for day to day medical needs for the poor.

Posted by: ottothewise | September 14, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I see the right wing continues its campaign to misinform people. The comments posted here by conservatives are full of the same old lies that have already been discredited by objective persons and those that can read. We are talking about insurance, not the administration of medicine, so all of the baloney about government run medical care is completely off point. Not unusual for the Republicans.

Meanwhile, the headline should read something like: "Majority support President despite Republican and Lunatic Right Wing Lies"

Posted by: stoplying | September 14, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

a vocal minority doesnt want others to be cared for, with the public option. So what?

Most of the GOP has been bought off by the insurance companies.
So what?

The same percentage who voted for Obama prefer the public option, which is one of the reasons WE voted for him.

Enough hooliganism. Shouting loud is all that they have got.

They lost the election. Yes, social welfare is expense. Tough.
Its cheaper than war vs someone who never attacked us.
Pre-emptive strikes by Bush makes us vulnerable to every nutcase in the world. Nice job. We are not impressed.

By the way, in some polls, the number approving public option is 77% and 67%. It depends on how the entire package is explained and presented, whether just a simple majority prefer the Obama plan or 2/3rds of those polled.

Enough pandering to the losers. RECONCILIATION NOW.

Posted by: ottothewise | September 14, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The folks who are all excited about relying on the government for their health care have obviously never been to a public clinic or applied for medicare or disability. The actual number of individuals without health insurance, deducting the illegals, younger folks who don't feel they need it and folks who just pay as they go is much lower than the 47 million that is bandied about. Take care of them and leave the rest of us alone. Unless of course you are for giving me the same plan our leaders have. Fat chance of that!

Posted by: amapper | September 14, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

sigmonde, if anyone is laughing at your comment, it is because of its monumental stupidity...now, go back to watching Faux News with your Glen Beck drool cup, m'kay?

Posted by: LABC | September 14, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Why stop at government run health care.? Let's have the government take over the food and food distribution industries. Free food for everyone. But, let's go all the way - free government housing for everyone. Think about it - free food, housing and health care and no need to work.

You laugh, but it worked well in the Soviet Union and East Germany and it's working well now in North Korea..

Posted by: Sigmonde | September 14, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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