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Public option more popular than bipartisanship

Washington Post-associated blogger Greg Sargent looked over the new Washington Post poll, and it's got the most relevant question on the public option that I've seen:

Which of these would you prefer most -- (a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress); or

(a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t get affordable private insurance)?

Prefer government-sponsored insurance: 51%

Prefer Republican support: 37%

Not only is the public option popular, but it is literally more popular than bipartisanship. Remember that next time a senator suggests that what the people really want is to see a bipartisan bill. What the people really want is a good health-care reform bill, and they would prefer that it include a public option. If Republicans are willing to sign onto that, great. If not, so be it.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 5:51 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Polls  
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Comments

Haven't we gone over this though? The question isn't whether the public at large supports a public plan (and of course, I very much do), but whether voters in Nebraska or North Dakota or Arkansas do. The vast majority of the public may support a public option over bi-partisanship, but the vast majority of the public doesn't live in those states.

I'd like to see polls like this targeted at the states represented by conservative Democrats.

Posted by: MosBen | October 19, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Similar question: Would I prefer to pay my own bills or have someone else pay them for me?

Posted by: rmgregory | October 19, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Er, wait a minute. I'm all for things that boost the public option, but the wording in that question is very misleading. The public option isn't "for people who can’t get affordable private insurance", it's a public competitor open to everyone on the exchange, no matter how much insurance they can afford. And it isn't "government sponsored", it's government-run.

The wording in that is much more applicable to the subsidy system that isn't even a little controversial than it is to the public option. It's not testing what they think it is.

Posted by: Diacritic | October 19, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Interesting numbers in WaPo polling. But the number that really counts is 60. And, all politics being local, Senators from low population states seem to be most opposed to a public option because voters in their states are reactively anti-federal government. A democratic Senator from a state with 0.3% of the US population can kill health care reform for everyone. The opt-out option is the best solution to bring these senators into the fold.
If Nebraskans with Senator Nelson doesn't want a public option let them opt out and see what happens. Then the other states are not held hostage to Nebraska, as they are now.

Posted by: glewiss | October 19, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the poll is that it only samples Adults, Ezra. Lets all look at the Quinnipiac Poll from Oct 8
which samples register voters
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1382

the numbers are flipped on bipartisanship

so lets take this wapo poll and all polls with a grain of salt

i prefer likely voter polls

Posted by: makensei | October 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the poll is that it only samples Adults, Ezra. Lets all look at the Quinnipiac Poll from Oct 8
which samples register voters
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1382

the numbers are flipped on bipartisanship

so lets take this wapo poll and all polls with a grain of salt

i prefer likely voter polls

Posted by: makensei | October 19, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the poll is that it only samples Adults, Ezra. Lets all look at the Quinnipiac Poll from Oct 8
which samples register voters
http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1382

the numbers are flipped on bipartisanship

so lets take this wapo poll and all polls with a grain of salt

i prefer likely voter polls

Posted by: makensei | October 19, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Would you like a free lunch without Republicans or no free lunch with Republicans?

It's a really confusing question. We already have government sponsored health care for people that can't afford private insurance, it's called Medicaid.

I say bring on the public option, it will solve nothing at all, only help us reveal more quickly that private insurance isn't the main problem.

Posted by: staticvars | October 19, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, if it's been covered I've missed it, but

How much is "affordable?" As a percentage of income, how much do people think they should/could pay for a premium/doctor's visits/deductibles/etc?

Frankly, as a self-employed/self-insured person, I wonder how I'll afford my coverage now that my business is tanking.

Posted by: dadada | October 20, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

The "public option" = "government-sponsored health insurance"? On what planet?

Posted by: ostap666 | October 20, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I see the conservabots are up to their usual straw-man tactics, arguing against something that hasn't been proposed in order to distract attention from what is actually being considered.

Posted by: tl_houston | October 20, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

the public option is dead ezra and has been since July. by picking at this crusted scab you are simply exacerbating the already high tensions in your own party.

if all you needed was a bare majority to pass big legislation then social security reform we would have.

also, isnt it funny how obama wants to sit down and "talk" to iranians about their nuclear program but doesnt want to talk to republicans about domestic health care overhaul?

obama is a very strange man.

Posted by: dummypants | October 20, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"Interesting numbers in WaPo polling. But the number that really counts is 60."

No, the number that counts is 51. Then, we worry about Dems supporting a Republican filibuster which seems unlikely at this point.

"I say bring on the public option, it will solve nothing at all, only help us reveal more quickly that private insurance isn't the main problem."

The bill has plenty of fixes that are more substantial in the short term for cost control, etc. In the long term, a PO adds some competition to local markets, which is always good.

"doesnt want to talk to republicans about domestic health care overhaul?"

I wish the GOP would've gotten behind a bill like Wyden-Bennett (or, any bill). It would've been a better debate than what's happened: the Dems pawing at what bipartisanship would look like if the other party had suggestions rather than just saying "no." That's why the left is so upset: why compromise if one party will always oppose what you do?

Posted by: Chris_ | October 20, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, yeah. And if majority support or sound public policy, take your pick, were actually important to politicians, we could get some stuff done. I sure hope the momentum is on the side of the public option, but since for the life of me I cannot find the door to the parallel universe where conservative Dems reside, I can't make any predictions about what they're thinking.

Posted by: Jenn2 | October 20, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Well, yeah. And if majority support or sound public policy, take your pick, were actually important to politicians, we could get some stuff done. I sure hope the momentum is on the side of the public option, but since for the life of me I cannot find the door to the parallel universe where conservative Dems reside, I can't make any predictions about what they're thinking.

Posted by: Jenn2 | October 20, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

and its amazing how LIBERALLY this question was asked. All you have to do is change a couple words and you'd get an entirely different response but yet the irresponsible journalists (if you can call them that) at the WAPO take this as a nationwide referendum on government run healthcare.

One of these days we're going to wake and realize "What the He-- did we do?" by giving these nuts the key to the candy store.

Again there are ways to do this and cover every American (at a reasonable cost), make everyone accountable but that's not being done here.

We're giving back to hospitals, doctors, pharma what was taken away before so they don't jump ship but then when they do that they're making the boat take on more water. Snowe was right, it is like the Titanic but now those in power seem instead of turning around the large ship of healthcare (ie cost reducing measures) we're just driving it faster towards the iceberg.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 20, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean repeatedly says that regulating health insurance is free. The government has the right to do it. We do not need to attach money to that bill. By passing a bill with mandates, there needs to be a public option or the money goes to the insurance industry with no control of costs. That is why a single-payer plan is popular with the left. That is why private insurers in Europe are regulated like utilities. Why does the media never report on this issue with health reform and the discussions of public option? In other words, no public option and the bill needs to contain no mandates and no money.

Posted by: LillithMc | October 20, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

>>
"...it's got the most relevant question on the public option that I've seen:"

Relevent to whom? the Liberals who want govt control and a single payer system?

The wording of the poll is a farce. It is obvious that the pollers wanted a specific outcome.

<<

Posted by: CyKick | October 20, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

LillithMC,

its liberal ideas like that who don't understand the idea of "risk pooling" that don't get that the end to pre-ex is what is tied to the individual mandate and nothing else. Nothing more, no less.

Regulating health insurance is free? REALLY? Please explain that because every state has a Dept of Insurance that would beg to differ. Every state also through its legislatures adds to our costs through "mandates" of what needs to be covered. Some are good and necessary and some are bad and wasteful (depending on who is benefitting from it). See to infertility doctors that lobbied the state representatives in my state of NJ several years back to get coverage for infertility saw it as a benefit. A huge payday. And they got it. The problem is that it adds about 5-8% to everyone's costs in NJ and how many people are they pushed from affordability to cover that mandate? That's the cost issue that liberals can't seem to grasp.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 20, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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