Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Americans still want health-care reform


So, 63 percent of Americans -- that's enough to break a filibuster, you know -- think Congress should keep on trying to pass a comprehensive health-care plan. It turns out that "even Republicans are critical of their congressional leadership, with 44 percent seeing them as doing too little to strike deals with Obama." Only 13 percent of Democrats say Obama has been too slow to strike deals with Republicans.

I like Kevin Drum's take on this: "The Fox News wing of the Republican Party obviously isn't in the mood for compromise," he writes, "but this is a reminder that there's still a quieter, non-Fox wing that would like to see some things get done." I like his take, but I don't know that it's meaningful. Midterm elections are a game of base mobilization. What Republicans understand is twofold: First, blocking Obama's major legislative initiatives will amp their base. Second, blocking Obama's major legislative initiatives will depress the Democratic base. Add that to the natural tilt of midterm elections (toward conservative seniors, away from liberal youngsters) and you've got a pretty good midterm strategy.


The answer for Democrats, of course, is that they need to get their people back in the game, and that means making them feel like their team might actually win. No one stays till the ninth inning when it seems that their side has stopped trying to catch up. So c'mon, Democrats. You know what you need to do.

Pass. The. Bill. And keep looking like you want to be bipartisan while you do it.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 10, 2010; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ryan for prez?
Next: Congress by remote control


"but this is a reminder that there's still a quieter, non-Fox wing that would like to see some things get done"

And there's folks like me that don't really support the current healthcare initiative and think that the Republicans should vote against it, but don't (on principal) approve of the Republicans preventing a straight up-or-down vote on the issue. I didn't care for it when the Democrats did it to the Republicans, and I don't like it now.

There should be a vote. There should have already been a vote. Elections have consequences. If HCR is such a terrible thing, the Republicans should have let them vote, hung it around the Democrats neck, and then campaigned on repealing it in 2010.

Otherwise, maybe HCR is not actually the end of the world as we know it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree wholeheartedly -- the health care reform bill now before the House should immediately be brought for a straight up-or-down vote: it needs only a bare majority -- and the President's signature -- to become law.

Alas, though, Speaker Pelosi is holding the health care reform bill, already approved by a supermajority of the Senate, and is preventing it from being voted upon by duly elected Representatives. The power held by one individual is currently being used to deny Americans of the benefits of health care reform!

The fact that Democrats prefer to characterize Pelosi's hold as some sort of inter-party battle (when in fact it is a member of the Democratic Party obstructing passage of health care reform) is a superb example of the sort of spin-doctoring which has become so problematic in US politics.

The upside is that the President and the Republicans seem to be countering the spin rather effectively: as of last night, both the President and his opposition party seem to be willing to sit down together to address the problem Pelosi is inflicting on hard-working Americans who want affordable health care options.

Posted by: rmgregory | February 10, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Pass the bill with a public option and you'll have the whole base back with bells on.

Posted by: eRobin1 | February 10, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans have always understood that they are trying to kill something that the people want. That is why they always talk about "starting over" rather than stating a simple opposition to HCR.

The people's desire for health care reform is also why Jim DeMint predicted that a failure on this single issue would be "Waterloo" for Obama and the Democrats.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 10, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

There was a straight up or down vote in the House. It passed by 5 votes in a climate of public opinion that was much more favorable than it is now. I, too, think there should be an up or down vote. But I wouldn't be so sure that the congressional Democrats will jump off the cliff once the Republicans step out of their way.

Posted by: bgmma50 | February 10, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

What shocks me is that only 9% of Democrats feel President Obama has gone too far in compromising with Republicans.

Posted by: adamiani | February 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how we all realize that midterms are about base turnout but SIMULTANEOUSLY know that next year's losses will inevitably be seen as evidence that America hates Democrats. If Dem strategists really believe turnout is key, why would they care about collapsing support among independents (or especially Republicans). Why would they be so eager to sacrifice the electorally important cohort for groups that -- whatever their media importance -- just don't matter from the perspective of keeping your guys in office?

Posted by: NS12345 | February 10, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@adamiani: "What shocks me is that only 9% of Democrats feel President Obama has gone too far in compromising with Republican"

Maybe more voters than anybody suspects actually wants the parties to work together, and accept compromise as the process by which things get done.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 10, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

"Americans still want health-care reform."

By looking at your chart, the only real conclusion I can draw is that *Democrats* still want reform.

Further, on the question of whether Republicans are doing enough to negotiate, does it really matter what everybody thinks -- or should we perhaps only be asking people who might actually vote for Republicans?

Posted by: cpurick | February 10, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Pass. The. Bill. And keep looking like you want to be bipartisan while you do it.

By Ezra Klein | February 10, 2010; 10:38 AM ET

Better yet, actually BE bipartisan in it. You've been hanging out with Maddow and Olbermann too much. They're poisoning your sense of true perspective. IMO, if the American public sees Dems say they want to be bipartisan but then they turn around and shove everything they want through reconciliation then they'll see that as against bipartisanship and Dems will pay even more than you'd expect come November.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 10, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Ezra: "And keep looking like you want to be bipartisan while you do it."

Rank partisanship with a twist of cynicism - that's what you sunk to, here, Ezra.

Posted by: tbass1 | February 10, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The. Bill. Sucks. People don't want the government telling them to buy private insurance. 18 million will live with the stigma of federal penalties. By contrast the benefits of the bill are highly questionable. There has to be a better way.

Posted by: bmull | February 10, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes they do, but they don't want this piece of mishmash garbage that Congress has put together....and that is either version.

Start ALL over, and give us a healthcare bill that guarantees basic services for everyone, and leaves out the controversial provisions that are wanted only by the extremes and big business.

The first step is to sit down and decide on the provisions that both parties can accept. Write those into a basic document! Then begin to debate each of the provisions that both sides cannot accept in their present form. If common ground can be established include it. If common ground cannot be established leave it out.

Solve the solvable parts of the problem. Pass a basic bill that applies to everyone. Then once it is in place, fight over the parts that no one can agree to.

Healthcare for everyone [basic services] is doable. Do it!

Posted by: Tawodi | February 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe this poll. It would be very interesting if a more impartial source asked the same questions. Other such polls show the majority do NOT want any part of this government-run HC plan.

Posted by: inmanorj | February 10, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Ezra writes:

"It turns out that "even Republicans are critical of their congressional leadership, with 44 percent seeing them as doing too little to strike deals with Obama."

Unless the "44% comes" from another source the article ACTUALLY says:

"RESPONDENTS are critical of OBAMA, with 44 percent of them saying OBAMA is doing too little to strike deals with REPUBLICANS.


But then Ezra also states:

"Only 13 percent of Democrats say Obama has been too slow to strike deals with Republicans," without citing THAT statistic in the body of the article. It would be nice if the graphs displayed were the ones on which the article is based. Or am I missing something? I thought I had exhausted all links.

Posted by: erichwwk1 | February 10, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

We the People, have Health Care! We want and need Health Insurance Reform! But less than 35% of us favor the 2ooo page fiasco in which the federal government will take over 1/6th of our economy. Scrap the preposterous bill and start over in the OPEN, as promised.

Posted by: londonrealty | February 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein is either not doing his homework or is purposely misleading his audience in this article.

By a margin of 58% to 40% (Rasmussen), Americans do not want the proposed legislation (House and Senate versions) passed.

So while the majority want comprehensive reform, they don't want these job killing bills that are currently in limbo revived.

They want a new start, one that will actually save money and not kill jobs.

Posted by: SanAnton | February 10, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Ezra not sure where you're getting your polls from, but there are far too many polls out there for us to roll over for this one. The bill was bad - Americans didn't want it and they were loud and clear last August. Sadly, the administration had to stoop to bribing moderate Dems to vote for it. Everyone needs to let this die and start over. Its time to move on to what Americans want - not just liberals.

Posted by: altonmj | February 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

The republicans have shown their true sides and the people now know, it is themselves that do not wish to change. They always say what the people want, but, never present those people and the news media do not ask for them.

Posted by: revruc1 | February 10, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ezra,

What happens if HCR does pass and after everything is implemented, people see that they're still tied to their jobs to sustain their health coverage, paying higher premiums to private health insurance companies, still going bankrupt from their health care costs because they didn't meet eligibility for federal subsidies, and the deficit is so high that entitlement cuts are absolutely on the table. Then, someone mentions that the health care system in this country is broken and needs essential reform. Some people might mention Obama's historic passage of HCR in 2010. But, government will most likely be similarly fearful of making a big change to the status quo. The point is this bill is the status quo and adds 30 million new people into an entitlement program. Things will get worse before they get better. Maybe starting over is not an option. But, there definitely should be consideration about making real change to the current system, rather than the current bills in consideration which continue to coddle the health care industry and protect private profits.

Posted by: goadri | February 10, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"So c'mon, Democrats. You know what you need to do. Pass. The. Bill. And keep looking like you want to be bipartisan while you do it."

Yes, no attention to that rubber hood stretched over your head. The folks in the voting booths don't throw switches anymore...right?

Posted by: DavidinCentralFlorida | February 10, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"the health care reform bill now before the House should immediately be brought for a straight up-or-down vote: it needs only a bare majority -- and the President's signature -- to become law."

So figure the odds on convincing 51 Democrats in the Senate to vote for it after losing "Teddy's seat" to a Republican over it. Start over with a clean sheet and work out a truly bi-partisan bill that can garner 70+ votes in the Senate.

Posted by: JCM-51 | February 10, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

A good health care plan is needed. The Dems, tho, anxious to get something passed at Obama's direction, did all the wrong things. First, Obama consulted the wicked
representatives of the corporations, the lobbyists. Then they stole over $500 billion from Medicare, after which they went behind closed doors, made deals, [some of which involved bribery], they threatened non-participants with fines, penalties &, sakes alive!, IMPRISONMENT! Those who were not included in deals were going to be victims, having to pay the share of costs not being paid by the recipients of the bribes.
Seniors were being punished for being old &, along with their money being stolen, their care was going to be reduced. The inequality of the various levels of the plan was un American. There was the catering to the insurance & pharmaceutical industries. The plan was so expensive that huge taxes would have to be proposed to cover its costs but a deficit was still possible, while being a burden to all Americans.
Such a plan should be killed & buried in the depths of the deepest ocean.
The Republicans are being stubborn, obstructive, & mean, as usual. But, I want to thank them for being so against this health plan. This time, their stubbornness
helped defeat a plan that was a terrible mistake.
However, a plan is needed for the sake of the health of all citizens, especially the children and for the nation's economic well-being. The Republicans should take a deep breath & step forward to assist the Dems in getting a good plan passed. 100 heads are better than 59. As Americans, they should be thinking of the best thing for America & at this point, that is a good health plan. They would get as much credit for giving us this gift as the Democrats would get.
Hopefully, it would be the 1st step to new cooperation.

Posted by: afed27 | February 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Either the questions were dirrective or the poll is bias. No one believes the 2700 page mess they voted on before was any good. It is true we need reform, but we don't need a fools expansion with more costs. If you and others don't know by now , here it is! WE ARE BROKE.SPENDING WILL NOT PAY OUR DEBIT OFF. INCREASING THE DEBIT WILL NOT PAY THE DEBIT OFF. INCREASING THE PRESENT $107,000,000,000,000 UNFUNDED LISBILITIES WILL NOT PAY DOWN DEBIT. WE NEEND BETTER REPRESENTATIVES NO MATTER WHAT PARTY. LOOK AT " NATIONAL DEBIT CLOCK.ORG." SEE HOW MUCH EVERY MAN WOMAN AND CHILD OWES NOW. Every 8 seconds the debit goes up $1,000,000.00 at the present rate. I don't want to scare you but we do need to think a little prior to blowing more money.

Posted by: rellis7415 | February 10, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein, It is apparent that your middle name should be Obama. I have yet to read a piece penned by you that was not espousing the vitrale comments of the Left Wing. We are lifelong voting Democrats who find ourselves moving to the Independents because of reporters and I use that term lightly. Whatever happened to the true journalists from the Post. I can not understand how they allow you to report for them when you are so far left. You must have gone to a New England College that professed undying allegiance to Socialism. How about growing up and giving us balanced reporting rather than your continued Far Left Wing jibberish.
Get a pair.

Posted by: Raven7 | February 10, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen isn't the only poller. The average right now is only 51 Oppose, 40 Favor:

A moving average that includes Rasmussen.

Both Oppose and Favor averages are FALLING -- they peaked at the turn of the year, at 52/42. Favor has lost more, and they must be joining Undecided.

If the Republican meme is true, then we know why Favor is falling. But the question is why is Oppose also falling?

For Oppose, let's say the kneejerk anti-government crowd peaked at the usual 35%, then add another 10% in team Republicans.

Then suppose that some of the new Opposed since last August are people who really want a public option, or else to ditch the whole bill. (They want a rational system like other countries have, which covers everybody at 40% less money for the same outcomes. So they figure they'll have to start "deficit neutral" by paying taxes to cover the poor -- but not to a private middleman.)

If so, then the fall in Oppose could be people who realize that getting "universal coverage" (which usually polls at 60 or 70% until you mention taxes) as an irreversible standard, may be worth the temporary price. Because it could lead in the near future to a non-profit plan as reasonable as the "public option" (which usually polls at 60 or 70%, because eliminating the middleman will save a lot of nickels, including tax nickels.)

Well I'm crossing two lines of evidence, i.e. a weird graph plus the continuing demonstration of opinion in favor of the public option (in these comments and elsewhere) -- and guessing that they are not unrelated. It seems to me that this thing is really a dead heat, and the Democrats merely have to go "proactive" to win the day.

In an article yesterday on the Republicans' laying down of terms for going to the summit (like they have a choice!) a House Republican remarked that "universal coverage" is not something they would even consider to discuss at the summit.

I would guess not!

"Universal coverage" is certainly a discussion they do not want to engage in, with the President. "Universal coverage" is their Achilles' heal. "Universal coverage" beats their supporters down to a 30% rump of embittered grizzled survivalists and callow upscale libertarians. "Universal coverage" leads back to accepting the present healthcare reform bills.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 10, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Folks like Ezra Klein are a perfect example of why the Post is on it's last legs. Growing up in D.C. I remember decades ago when the Post was actually considered a serious news organization, rather than the joke it has become today.

Posted by: buster6 | February 10, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

You obviously don't know anything about statistics. You took the three reponses and AVERAGED them. That is NOT the way it works, unless the Polling was done correctly. Since you are espousing YOUR point of view I will assume that the Polling was not done correctly so your results aren't worth the column you wrote about them.

You started with an assumption and worked the polls to fit your assumption!

Posted by: morphy | February 10, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Republican and I am unalterably opposed to the methods used by the Democrats to fashion this monstrosity of a power grab. There's precious little in there that will actually lessen the cost of health care and way too much that will further empower an already too intrusive government.

I still would like to se some meaningful legislation past that would do more to open up the insurance markets and reduced the various unnecessary costs that go hand in hand with practicing medicine in this country. That doesn't mean nor should it be taken to indicate that I want the government to pass this piece of merde as the writer of this article would have you believe.

If we were to also put this together with other national poles that ask us how we rank various legislation by importance you'd find that health care reform is probably 4 or 5th on the list.

The libs that post here have got us arguing the wrong thing. It's only slightly about health care. It's much more about an ever expanding, inefficient, and terribly expensive government that screws virtually every private free market industry that it touches.

Posted by: Sproing | February 10, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Congress can pass whatever they want to pass if they could only get the Democrats in line!

Posted by: rteske | February 10, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Then suppose that some of the new Opposed since last August are people who really want a public option, or else to ditch the whole bill. (They want a rational system like other countries have,

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | February 10, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse


You could be absolutely correct that poll numbers want that. But poll numbers are also concerned about defecits. Imagine if the US had the issues that Greece, Portugal and Spain are going through right now. Imagine 18-19% unemployment like Spain has. Defecits like Greece has. People always think the grass is greener until they know how bad the other side has it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 10, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The Third Rail of Politics meets health care reform

There are three problems facing our president as he prepares for his upcoming televised health care summit. I am a progressive Republican who is rooting for his success. I am going to suggest something that a politician should never do. I would suggest Mr. President that you boldly touch the third rail of American Politics.

1. He should fix the funding of Medicare and social security.
2. He should tie the future costs of health care to our standard of living.
3. He should form an alliance with the Republican Party as well as secure populist support with all stakeholders.

My proposal would be to bail out Medicare and Social Security with a 13.5% payroll tax for the employee and employer. This could also be accomplished by keeping taxes as they are now and taxing employee benefits. Then contain costs by tying future expense to GDP growth. If our country is not growing, then we must make decisions about comfort instead of cures for those of us in need of health care.

Health care must make sense…

• Pre-existing conditions must be included in the insurance pool
• Health Insurance should be able to be purchased across state lines.
• Those with out health insurance should pre-pay medical expenses at a discount for preventative health care.
• The uninsured should continue to receive acute critical care through the established practice of cost shifting.
• Universal health coverage can still be explored at the state level.

Health care cost must be contained

• Pharmaceutical companies should pay a portion of health care based on their profits.
• Disincentives must be built into the health care delivery system for patients to sue.
• Alternative medicine practices should be encouraged to provide comfort when cures are beyond our ability to pay for them.
• Electronic reporting procedures must become standard in the delivery of health care by medical professionals.

We are currently being slammed by a snow storm in the Mid-Atlantic States. I am history teacher stuck in my house spinning solutions to problems that I have no business attempting to solve. Perhaps this snow storm can generate more ideas right now. A snow storm can slow things down enough to include the average Joe’s opinion on issues that matter to us all. I want you to solve these difficult problems that are facing our nation. I believe that your judgment is probably better than the intellectual community as you enter into negotiations with the stake holders of this dilemma. I am at the bottom of the list of these stakeholders. The beauty of democracy is that when a snow storm happens I have the time to think through these issues as both the least significant and most numerous of your constituents as I twitter my thoughts to you.

Posted by: pparris | February 10, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: theoldmansays | February 11, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

We must remove American from the government teat or we will all sink into oblivion. Availability creates demand, the whole medical system is ruinously overused. We must return to a system where costs are known, treatment accurately assessed and obey free market rules. Free clinics for those who cannot afford to pay and everyone else on fee for service. Catastrophic insurance is the only kind that is needed. As Petrarch noted in the fifteenth century the secret of a long life is to avoid doctors. I would be in perfect health, at 72, if not for the chronic ills visited on me from "modern" medical treatments, medicines like Levaquin destroyed my achilles tendons and rotator cuffs. More than half the treatment given today is completely unnecessary and actually harmful.Wake up from the fantasy that is modern medicine, the pharmaceutical marketing machine. It's killing us and killing our country. We might look more closely at these bogus treatments if we actually paid for them at the point of service. Prices would be diminished by real demand rather than the smoke and mirror game of so-called health insurance.

Posted by: RAPProds | February 11, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

for the old REPUBLICANS

Posted by: theoldmansays | February 11, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I know those with little income spend a higher percentage on Health Care than others. My issues with preexisting health conditions meant a $5,000 deductible because it was affordable at one point.

Don't give up now.

Posted by: LeslieAnn25 | February 11, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

We really have to get these Washington writers out here in "real America" to have them learn what is really going on. Forget who is helping and who isn't.....Congress increasingly is becoming IRRELEVANT to advocating the wishes of the American people. A long time ago, they forgot that they are representative of the American, of Americans. So when you have an Executive branch and a Legislative branch effectively "playing" at government, times are ripe for change. In addition, reading your article about your latest "poll," I wasn't sure if you were advocating that the Dems continue their political push for the gargantuan bill they pushed through with all kinds of chicanery, or whether you wanted them to start over again working with the Republicans, which can only truly be done if we have Reid on one side of the podium, and an equally power pol on the other...then maybe we can get somewhere. So, I can't accept your poll......until you clarify it!

Posted by: connyankee1 | February 11, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company