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."
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