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The polling memo everyone is reading

Or at least most House and Senate Democrats. The memo itself is from Joel Benenson, Barack Obama's pollster of choice, so as Jonathan Cohn notes, "you can consider this unofficial official word as it were." At the very least, it's what the White House wants congressional Democrats reading. And now you can read it, too (pdf).

The basic argument is that health-care reform is becoming more popular as the president takes control of the process, and Obama and the Democrats are still more popular than the Republicans on this issue. I'd interpret the data a bit differently: Health-care reform is becoming more popular as people are talking more about the bill and what it'll do than about how Democrats made a big mistake attempting health-care reform months before Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 12, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  Polls  
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Next: The danger of the status quo

Comments

Nobody is buying this ridiculous spin (or more accurately plain bald-faced lie).

For any one person who strongly likes this bill there are two who strongly dislikes it.

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | March 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

81% favor creating a new exchange that allows people without insurance to buy at competitive rates.

Well sure they do. If you phrase it that way who wouldn't.


How did they find 19% to oppose an end to pre-ex.


I wonder if we rephrased these questions to not slant them how'd the responses would change??

Keep spinning.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The most specious kind of polling is the one that separates out the issues. Would you like an end to discrimination against pre existing conditions? Hey, sure. How about a new exchange? Sure. How about getting money in the mail? Yeah. But if you present people the downside -- crippling taxes for the middle class, bureaucracy determining "best care" -- meaning, your children's care, an excise tax on everything you do, special groups of favored people getting different care -- in other words, the whole package, then they will have a different response. You have been thundering for months about how the proposed takeover must be done as a whole, and seen as a whole. You say one cannot do incremental "reform." But incremental polling? Apparently that little trick is fine.

Posted by: truck1 | March 12, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse


"Nobody is buying this ridiculous spin (or more accurately plain bald-faced lie)."


there will be many "nobodies" celebrating on the day that this health care bill is passed. it will be a lovely celebration.
sorry you wont be joining us...but maybe one day, you will need the benefits of this health care reform bill, and then you will celebrate it privately and feel gratitude for it.

Posted by: jkaren | March 12, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

At his point do poll numbers really fracking matter? Seriously. Either Dems think this bill is the best thing for our country and pass it or they think it isn't and they let it fail. What the polls say right now really is irrelevant. They'll be tagged as supporting "a government takeover of your health" whether or not the bill succeeds or fails. They'll be tagged with this even if every vote they cast re: hc reform was a "nay" vote. That's because their fortunes will be tied to those of the party and the president - that's how it works, especially when you are the party in power. But if it fails, there's no way to prove these false charges are wrong. If it passes, you can do this...and it's clear this bill is nowhere near the radical, communist, socialist plot that the GOP has painted it out to be. In addition, voters don't want to hear that the folks in DC wasted a year on a failure.

And starting over is a joke because the GOP doesn't want any bill to pass. Passing smaller measures is equally stupid both because you can't do a lot of the reforms individually and because, again, the GOP won't support any Dem bill. The Dems could put a bill up that included malpractice caps of $250K, the sale of insurance across state lines, and regulations guaranteeing insurance to all children no matter what - two GOP faves and one completely uncontroversial and popular provision - and almost all members of the GOP would still oppose that bill. Why? Because it would be a Dem bill, they would merely be underwriters. And a Dem president would sign it into law. The results - a perceived Dem victory. They want the Dems to fail at all costs, even if the Dem propose doing something that the GOP says they support today. That being the case, starting over is a non-starter.

The Dems are going to lose seats in November no matter what. But if they let this thing fail their losses will go from bad to disastrous. That's why it's past time to base your decision on a weekly tracking poll on the issue.

Bottom line - no Dem is going to help themselves in November by running on an "I stopped healthcare reform" platform. It just isn't going to happen. It's past the point of no return re: public opinion - again, you either think it's right for the country and pass it or you think it's wrong and let it fail. There's a real public opinion poll coming up in November - and that's the only poll that matters. And I'm of the firm opinion that the GOP knows that the Dems will do better in November and even better in 2012 if healthcare reform passes...that's why they are doing everything in their power to prevent that passage of a bill that they claim is so unpopular that it will vault them back into power. If that's the case, then just let the Dems commit suicide and pass the bill then repeal when you win back both houses of Congress. But the GOP doesn't see that happening - ie, winning back both houses - unless the bill fails.

Posted by: shamey73 | March 12, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Yahoo! We're gonna shove it down the GOPers throats and it's going to join the other 'third rails' of American politics which they dare not touch -- and that's what's got them freaked out the most.

Lovin' it.

Posted by: leoklein | March 12, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"crippling taxes for the middle class, bureaucracy determining "best care" -- meaning, your children's care, an excise tax on everything you do, special groups of favored people getting different care"

Please cite the relevant sections of the Senate healthcare bill that do the things you are talking about.

Posted by: shamey73 | March 12, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the truth is that Obama is becoming less popular, right along with this mess of a "reform" bill and the incompetent congress who drafted it. People don't like being deceived, as we have been time and again during the push for healthcare reform. Anyone with half a brain knows that it is not true reform, but simply a jumble of fixes thrown together without any concern for whether or not the various pieces work together or whether or not it inflicts other damages on the American public.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | March 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Whatever they put in jkarens kool aid I want some!

Posted by: obrier2 | March 12, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Or could it be that now the shouting has subsided and the other side that has been drowned out is awake and making their voices heard. I fully support my president and his push for health reform and wish him God speed. As to those gutless Democrats who have made this drag on ad nauseum, good luck in November because you don't deserve my vote.

Posted by: Coodeh | March 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If it makes them feel better to treat fiction as fact, I suppose we can only hope that their tenure is very, very short in Washington.

But, think about how disappointed they will be if they don't get the votes and have to face that not everyone believes in their fairy tales.

Posted by: annetta3 | March 12, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

jkaren:

Just make sure you write thankyou notes of gratitude to all those who will be financing your dream of free healthcare for all, ok?

Posted by: Mary42 | March 12, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Do you call yourself a journalist? If you do, then shouldn't you at least try to be objective? When you try to find fault with polls that you don't agree with and don't look for faults in those you agree with, it suggests that your integrity needs examination.

Posted by: vitaglubet | March 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I would hope that a few insiders are reading THIS paper's polling data too:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/11/AR2010031102904.html

At least Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen disagree with the White House polling.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Ezra's not a journalist. He writes a blog. It has a lot of opinion on it and a lot of facts and more charts than you'll find anywhere than maybe 538. But, no, he's not a journalist, he's not trying to be "objective" (like our local news media which reported "hundreds of people demonstrated today in front of a Congressman's office for and against health care reform!" -- what they did not say was that 30 of them were on the teabagger side of the street with their snake flags, and 300 were on the other side of the street. All together, hundreds! For and against! No bias here!) If you want a site that just posts polls, try gallup.com.

Posted by: Jenn2 | March 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I fear LeoKlein is right.

That is until the point far off in the distance where entitlement reform becomes not only a necessity but an fiscal imperative.

We're there in NJ. Starting with next week's budget. As local radio personality Jim Gearhart said this morning (and I'm paraphrasing).

I can't wait. I don't know that I'll sleep. I've been waiting 20 years for someone to take this seriously. It'll be a huge week in our state when the budget gets unveiled. A lot of sacred cows are going to the slaughterhouse.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Krauthammer wrote about polling on peacemeal parts of healthcare last week. It should be required reading for Ezra and his followers. People don't want health care and by trying to force it down everyone throats they are going to crush the re-election chances of anyone in the democratic party not in a super safe seat. You lost MA over health care, you can virtually lose anything. There can be small losses from not passing it, or there can be MASSIVE losses from passing something most people hate.

Posted by: Natstural | March 12, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"Whatever they put in jkarens kool aid I want some!"


i would, of course, never drink kool-aid...but if you want some of what is in my mountain spring water, here it is.
let this be a lesson for you.

i remember writing on ezra klein's blog quite a while ago, when people thought that barack obama could never win against john edwards.
i remember when the clinton machine smirked at him, and looked absolutely invincible. that there was no way barack obama could win against the klieg lights, starpower and bankroll of the clintons.
i remember listening to the laughter of penn, mccaulliffe, davis, morris....
the cruel and berating humor of sarah palin and her minions....
i remember the cruel things that were said about him in the campaign, as he ran against a "war hero" and "powerful, esteemed" opponent who treated him in the most demeaning manner.
i remember when shoes were thrown at our last president.
the disgrace of being under the leadership of bush, cheney, rumsfeld....
i remember when president obama took office, and the last two administrations had all but run this country into the ground.

well,
i remember that president obama, with his steady leadership, came from behind and prevailed.
i remember many concession speeches from those who smirked at him.
and i see that he pulled us from disaster,
and he will pass health care reform.
and it will help millions of people.
......and once again, he will prevail.
just as he has already prevailed, and been victorious, many times before.
you can spin the truth any way you want, but we will have health care reform, and it will be a great victory....and there will be more successes to follow.
you can be with this, or against this,
but president obama will get the credit, and he will prevail with this....just as he has prevailed before.
maybe you miss the days of george bush, but i dont. every night, i am thankful that barack obama is in the white house.





Posted by: jkaren | March 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Whatever they put in jkarens kool aid I want some!"

Ha! Ha! It's called 'common sense'.

And to Mary42, there is no 'free healthcare' -- just ethical inclusive healthcare where as they say, "Everybody In, Nobody Out'.

Everyone else has done it. It's about time we do it as well. With this bill, we're not there yet but it's a good beginning (and a vote winner, to boot :-)

Posted by: leoklein | March 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I miss the days of George W. Bush ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

@mary42: Just make sure you write thankyou notes of gratitude to all those who will be financing your dream of free healthcare for all, ok?

I wish we were providing free health care for all. A tax based single payer or NHS style healthcare system would be far preferable to this private market approach, (IMHO), but it still wouldn't be free, just loads cheaper and more efficient and would totally eliminate the free rider problem w/out a mandate. Unfortunately "free healthcare for all" is just another story to frighten children.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

leoklein:

"Everybody In, Nobody Out" sounds a lot like FREE for those who can't pay.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr, I know this is off topic, but I think the biggest problem in NJ is that we have waaaaay too many municipalities and school districts. There's just a ton of waste in having these tiny townships all have thier own municipal services.

Posted by: MosBen | March 12, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

Is "FREE for those who can't pay" just another story to frighten children?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Natstural: People don't want health care and by trying to force it down everyone throats they are going to crush the re-election chances of anyone in the democratic party not in a super safe seat.

This is another lesson in series "stories to frighten children."

Repiglicans will try to pillory the dumbocrats with their initial yes votes on health care no matter what happens now. Actually passing it will look way better than "being for it before you were against it."

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

What's next: "FREE cars for those who can't pay"? "FREE cappuccino makers for those who can't pay"

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

This whole "cram down our throat" business is a bunch of hooey. These folks who are unwittingly acting against their own self interests are tremendously pathetic. They buy into the tightly scripted right wing pack of lies because they apparently don't think, or want to think for themselves.

Posted by: orientyourself | March 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

I'm a registered INDEPENDENT, not Republican (so maybe you can answer my question to you now).

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

How about people are so weary about hearing about health care and being bludgeoned by the President, that they'll say anything to put it behind us? Everyone wants aspects of current legislature, but it's an unfortunate example of the whole not matching the sum of it's parts. Collectively it's a dog.

Posted by: ecrutle | March 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

How about people are so weary about hearing about health care and being bludgeoned by the President, that they'll say anything to put it behind us? Everyone wants aspects of current legislature, but it's an unfortunate example of the whole not matching the sum of it's parts. Collectively it's a dog.

Posted by: ecrutle | March 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

orientyourself:

I assume you were in favor of the Senate Republicans using the "nuclear option" to confirm GWB's judicial nominees then?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

jkaren should just put on a blue dress and get under the desk in the oval office

Posted by: Holla26 | March 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

MosBen,

you're 10000% right.

Personally I just LOVE that Chrstie is focusing there for tons of waste and abuse. It seems as if everyone (well except for me and I'm guessing you) is on the public dime.

That's why i also love the idea of shared services. That'll be good. It seems like every town has its own sewage treatment plant (one of them is a client of mine and the salaries for people that really don't do much is really out of line). Then multiply that by hundreds and you see our problem.

Everybody's got their hands in the cookie jar and nobody's refilling it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@ JakeD2: Is "FREE for those who can't pay" just another story to frighten children?

I believe I quoted mary42 saying "free healthcare for all,". as the story to frighten children.

I personally believe in not allowing the poor to die on the street because they can't afford health care, so I think that very low cost or free treatment for those who can't afford it makes sense. I guess you would rather live in a country where the dead body carts roll though the streets to remove the bodies so your vision won't be sullied by their presence.

I wonder what your alternative would be to "FREE for those who can't pay". This phrase doesn't even rate the designation of stories to frighten children.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Republicans and their media shills at Fox news have done a great job of scaring seniors by not telling the truth about how those on Medicare will benefit from the legislation. Some will never figure it out even after they are reaping those very benefits.

Posted by: jbowen431 | March 12, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

jkaren should just put on a blue dress and get under the desk in the oval office


that is a highly offensive comment.
barack obama is a hero for me.
and i am thankful that in this culture, where there are people such as yourself, who resort to such offense and unkindness, that there are people like barack obama, who give us something to aspire to...who treat others with civility and who are great leaders and inspiring human beings.
when i read the kind of comment you wrote, it makes me grateful that there are people like barack obama left in this world.

Posted by: jkaren | March 12, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I have gone to Tea Party events to ask questions. I've approached seniors who had signs Saying " Obama is a Socialist" and asked the question what is a socialist. The best I ever got was you know it's bad! As a follow up I explain that if they really believe this they should find a way to get out of medicare and send their social security checks back. While they are doing this they should take their grand children out of public school and demonstrate instead to repeal progressive taxation. These issues which are integral to our society were also promulgated by Karl Marx.
Unfortunately, like Glenn Beck, they do not realize that words have meaning which we should understand before we speak...
Health Care 50% of folks are covered by medicare/medicaid, 33% are covered by employers (subsidized by the gov't through tax abatement), which leaves 17% to fend for themselves; ie, 53,000,000 Americans.
So who is demonstrating? Certainly not folks who don't have health care. So we have folks with little or no understanding of history or economics demonstrating to keep fellow Americans from having health care. They further can not comprehend how having more folks in the system will drive down everyone's cost..Thank you Fox News..

Posted by: bobmattson2000yahoocom | March 12, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Holla26:

To be fair, Ms. Lewinsky supposedly never gave Clinton a BL0WJ0B in the Oval Office (just the private study off of the Oval Office, bathroom, pantry, etc.)

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@ JakeD2:I assume you were in favor of the Senate Republicans using the "nuclear option" to confirm GWB's judicial nominees then?

For an independent, you sure sound partisan. If you supported the wingnut judges (most of which got onto the bench anyway) you may be to the right of repiglicans, if that is possible.

"What's next: "FREE cars for those who can't pay"? "FREE cappuccino makers for those who can't pay"

Equating basic health care to cars and coffee makers is like equating a fish with a bicycle and a staircase. This is more like another lesson in "nonsensical rants by the intellectually challenged".

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

bobmattson2000yahoocom:

A socialist is one who believes that the government should own the means of production of delivery of industry (in this instance, healthcare for all Americans). A capitalist wants less government intrusion, competition across state lines, etc.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"There can be small losses from not passing it, or there can be MASSIVE losses from passing something most people hate."

You hear that, Ezra? Republicans have our best interests at heart! They do NOT want us to lose seats, so we'd better listen to them! They would absolutely hate for Democrats to lose seats! What's a "concern troll", no, I don't even know what that means, I'm sure they just are really worried about this new majority they're going to have if health care passes!

Posted by: Jenn2 | March 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@JakeD2:

I've been commenting about that Caddell and Schoen so-called helpful advice for Dems on other blogs all day so instead of getting into it again, I'll point you to Jon Chait:

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/more-insincere-advice-dems

Caddell and Schoen are FoxNews regulars who appear on there to bash Dems and try to present themselves as Democrats simply because they worked for some Dems years ago. They are some of the worst political strategists in the business - just check out their records. (Caddell's list of clients is like a who's who of failures. Guess who was responsible for Carter's "malaise" speech? Pat Caddell) Like Dick Morris and Bill Kristol, they are almost alway wrong. And their advice to Dems is terrible. Give up and claim failure. Start over with a GOP who won't cooperate on anything even if the proposed legislation contains 90% of their ideas or even if the legislation simply said that July 15th, 2011 would be Free Ice Cream for Kids day? Caddell and Schoen are just like McConnell and Boehner in their concern trolling - they aren't looking out for Dems, they want them to fail. Like the GOP, Caddell and Schoen aren't worried that passing the bill will be bad for the Dems or bad for the country, they are worried that it will ultimately be good for the country and, as such, a victory for the Dems.

Posted by: shamey73 | March 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

just because someone doesn't agree with you and your view doesn't make them a "repiglican".

and i have heard in many liberal and progressive circles where employement is the next thing that the far left wants guaranteed.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry jkaren - didn't mean to offend. Bad joke

Posted by: Holla26 | March 12, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@ JakeD2: To be fair, Ms. Lewinsky supposedly never gave Clinton a BL0WJ0B in the Oval Office (just the private study off of the Oval Office, bathroom, pantry, etc.)

Boy you are on it today. Consensual sex is way worse than lying the US into a war of choice that killed hundreds of thousands. I am sure that the Clenis deserved impeachment and the war monger deserved a quiet retirement. /snark

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

shamey73:

How much would "Free Ice Cream for Kids" day cost? As for Caddell and Schoen, whether they are Dems or not, I still think that Obamacare will result in larger losses for Dems than if they turned their attention to jobs and other priorities. As always YMMV.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Sorry jkaren - didn't mean to offend. Bad joke


apology accepted.:-)

Posted by: jkaren | March 12, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Lying under oath and obstruction of justice are, indeed, worse than (and impeachable offenses to boot) accurately stating that the British government had learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

http://www.factcheck.org/bushs_16_words_on_iraq_uranium.html

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Once the bill is passed, the Democrats have to do a long period of teaching and fixing after it. This is it, in a nutshell.

This is not a bug, it's a feature. It is a new sort of ongoing campaign for the next elections. It will be a concerted information effort involving both wiki and public-relations (PR) elements.

This works both as a cost-reducing strategy for party re-election, AND as a good way to get the voice of the majority into your policies. The first party that can rectify it into traditional Congressional processes, will win big-time.

Look, polls aren't leaders -- they are a REFLECTION of the state of social discourse. That discourse, in turn, is regularly changed by new information and/or by new organization.

Your less-than-humble reporter wishes to remind you that he wrote here on February 26: "The opinion poll on the healthcare reform will move back to a dead heat. It is now a 10 or 11-point spread (10 points, Pollster average; 11 points, Real Clear Politics average.) This has narrowed an average of 3 points since January 1 (i.e., without much else but people thinking about it) -- and it will now narrow to statistically insignificant."

Updated, the Pollster average has narrowed 10 points since Jan. 1. I would now add that when the reform is passed, the graph lines will cross.

The Republicans can't do this sort of thing yet, and it is not merely because they do not hold power. It is also because their economic policies are based in false theoretical presumptions, and that means that their connection to wikireality will conspire to work against them. In short, the Republican Party is being done-in by its lack of learning.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Yet the Democrats have a rather self-blinding flaw. Funnily enough it is Glenn Beck who put his goofy finger on it, when he tried to tell religious people that they should be AGAINT social justice. I'm not sure who will actually buy this, it would smell bad even to an atheist -- and you can imagine advertisers recoiling in horror when they realize that their media outlet is traducing the cultural traditions of almost every other trading nation. Beck's comment may be a final perversion in United States' culture.

But what he's doing of course is trying to prevent the Dems from capitalizing on the obvious religious beatitudes of better healthcare.

It's quite striking that the Democrats haven't done this yet. We must conclude that progressives and liberals are astonishingly inept human beings. The Dems would be well-advised to formulate immediately a strategy of outreach in rhetorical appeals to churchgoers, and to call for a common understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition of caring for all, it's in the Muslim tradition too -- and to call for the policies that everybody can agree on, providing a baseline of coverage for everything, so Americans won't be afraid of taking economic steps and their better ideas may chance to come out.

Oppose the takeover of the Divinity School by the Chicago school!

Health reform is the only way to go. It ain't perfect, and it must be a continuing effort into the future by a nation of people who unfortunately are becoming some of the biggest laziest whiners on the planet. The U.S. thinks it hit in a home-run in economic method ("capitalism,") when really it just fell into two lucky patches of history, at once: it received the scientific method of the Western Enlightenment, at the same time as it commandeered a new continent of raw materials to exploit. This dominant passage is now coming to an end.

Capitalism means global free trade for the most efficient goods and services, and that means prices will equalize, and THAT means U.S. products will lose in competition, because U.S. labor is paying a healthcare cost 40% more than all the advanced competition. And it's not getting a good education.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Lee,

that's a nice little epiphany but you'll lose a large segment of those Judeo-Christians with a pro choice stance. For many of them that supersedes all else. Just ask the US Bishops.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@vb: just because someone doesn't agree with you and your view doesn't make them a "repiglican".

I didn't call him a repiglican. s/he could be some other brand of crazy. I said that if he supported the wingnut judges, he was to the right of repiglicans, if that were possible. If you don't think that Bush only nominated right wing partisan judges and politicized the DoJ (See Monica Goodling), I have some sea side property in Kansas that you might be interested in buying.

and i have heard in many liberal and progressive circles where employement is the next thing that the far left wants guaranteed.

Such statements are all the better for a little proof. There probably are some folks who believe that, but it is neither here nor there. It makes a lot more sense than what I hear from the rightwingnutosphere. It wouldn't take long to find some even more bizarre ideas over at powerline and redstate, like Obama is a Kenyan socialist who wants to sell the US out to the Islamic World Domination Council or the black UN helicopters are just over the next ridge waiting to force us into a 1 world government, or (going to Hagee's website) that the rapture is near and the Jews need to control all of Palestine in order for the Savior to return. This was a health care thread.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The average cost of health-care premiums for a family of four currently is more than $14,000 and rising. And conservative politicians are telling us Americans don't want health-care reform and are happy with the plans they have? Who are they kidding? So, if reform doesn't pass, if we don't get relief, we'll just drop our health care coverage we cannot afford and go to the emergency rooms. That way those who are so happy with current health care will pay for us.
Jon

Posted by: jtisch | March 12, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

Tin foil hat alert. Do we rely on foreign intelligence to direct US foreign policy?

ROTFLMAO

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Jon:

The estimate for our current "status quo" healthcare predicts it will cost 19.5% of GDP by 2017; if Obamacare passes and costs exceed 20% of GDP by 2017, will you at least admit that the status quo would have been better?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@JakeD2:

OK, to control costs let's instead give every kid a pat on the head and toussle their hair. (is that too Massa-like?) Whatever it is, the GOP will oppose it...that's their strategy.

"I still think that Obamacare will result in larger losses for Dems than if they turned their attention to jobs and other priorities."

That would have been a debatable argument if it was made a year ago. I didn't see any concerns voiced by Schoen and Caddell at that time, probably because the polls largely approved reform at that time. It's too late now...can't turn back that clock. It was too late five months ago. The Democrats chose to take on healthcare reform - that decision has already been made. You can debate whether or not they should have put it off for another year or 2 or 5 or 20 but that's where we are today. What we're talking about now is pushing this thing across the finish line...another month, maybe 6-weeks. At the same time, over the last month or so, Congress passed a jobs bills and an extension for unemployment insurance, the Senate just passed an even larger jobs bill that looks almost certain to pass. They are focusing on jobs and the economy...and reforming healthcare is a part of fixing the economy so it's not like it's wholly disconnected.

Whatever the case, Caddell and Schoen want the Dems to call it quits this close to the finish line, after all the heavy lifting and yelling and screaming has already occurred, at a point where they are already focusing on jobs. And they are saying this now because they are afraid the Dems are actually going to pull this off. In short, they - like the GOP - want the Dems to fail, for pretty similar reasons - the GOP wants to get back in power and Caddell and Schoen hate the Dems so much that they want the GOP to stick it to them.

At this point in the game, passing the bill within the next few weeks is only going to help the Dems in November. It isn't going to turn November into 2006 or 2008 for the Dems - far from it. But the alternative - declaring failure - will result in a much uglier November for the Dems. And Caddell and Schoen (and the GOP) know this - which is why I can't take their advice seriously and why I think there is more malice in their "advice" than anything else.

Posted by: shamey73 | March 12, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

@vb: that's a nice little epiphany but you'll lose a large segment of those Judeo-Christians with a pro choice stance. Just ask the US Bishops.

Fortunately the US has separation of church and state (or at least it was founded on those principles.) And actually a majority of Judeo-christians in the US and around the world are pro choice. Look at Spain and Italy, both have right to choose on the books. You don't get much more Catholic than that.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
I don't dislike you. You are a human being, so we are made of the same stuff. I think we could even have a good discussion about this topic of Health Care.

In that discussion I would present to you that we need reform. I would make my first point to declare that transfer and ability to purchase insurance should be allowed across state lines. My second point would be for torte reform to be a major part of the reform. My third point would be that care should be paid on the outcome and not on the amount of testing, services, or anything that increases the use of a procedure without a definite benefit.

If you can get the legislation to work on these three issues, I am sure that you will find a very receptive public.

The demise of this current legislative process is that it is intended to reduce our liberties and build an enormously expensive administration/bureaucracy that will not improve the problem of cost, but magnify it exponentially.

The people do not want a French system of government or health care, nor a British system, or a Canadian system. We expect the government to keep us safe, and not to control our lives.

Remember, it's not difficult to get something that will benefit the American people, but to force the country into bankrupsey under the guise of doing good is wrong. Ms. Pelosi seems to think it is her given right - I didn't state "God give right" because she doesn't believe in any other god than herself.

Remember, there are some good items for reform, but don't try to change the form of government by enacting the present form of Health Care Reform.

Posted by: papamckie | March 12, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Honestly people.....do you really believe that any one of these polls is a true representation of the people? You could call 10 people and ask them if they want reform.....8 said no, or "80% of the people don't want reform! This is a true representation of these polls. I want reform, everyone I know wants reform,and no one I talk to likes their current insurance plan.

Moral of story: don't put so much stock in polls.....they are a moot point anyway. Just call your congressional leader and tell them how you feel instead of pissing and moaning to the rest of us.

Posted by: liberalwesterngirl | March 12, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2
Only if you are willing to accept my share of health-care costs because I cannot afford it. Are you willing to accept a 39 percent increase like that proposed by Blue Cross in California? If not, what would you do about it? The plan is simple for the poor who cannot afford health care insurance: use the emergency rooms and let others pay for it. Isn't that what has been happening? Isn't that a factor driving up health-care costs? Visit your local public health clinic as ask minimum-wagers there if they can afford health care insurance. If costs were not a factor, why then are 39 million without health care insurance?
Jon

Posted by: jtisch | March 12, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@The estimate for our current "status quo" healthcare predicts it will cost 19.5% of GDP by 2017; if Obamacare passes and costs exceed 20% of GDP by 2017, will you at least admit that the status quo would have been better?

Such statements are all the better for a little proof. Link please. And besides, even if that were true, That is not much of a difference in costs, considering HCR will provide access to health care for 31 million more people and allow millions more to keep coverage and afford better insurance through subsidies and better insurance regulation. If you think the status quo is where we should stay (not even repiglicans believe that load of ****), if you don't want the Kansas sea side land, perhaps a tropical vacation in Fairbanks?

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

shamey73:

We'll see soon enough (if the GOP take back both Houses of Congress, will you agree that the Dems should have called it quits this close to the finish line?).

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Jon:

I am not going to cover your costs, neither do I think that the FEDERAL government has the legal power to do anything about it. If you can't afford healthcare insurance here in California, move to Massachusetts.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@ papamckie

Don't you find it odd that every other modern democracy has some form of universal health care, far fewer medical bankruptcies, similar or better aggregate health care outcomes, and costs 1/2 to 3/4 of the US system? Isn't it strange that there is not a single modern democracy whose people would trade their systems for ours? What does the rest of the modern world know that we don't know?

" I would make my first point to declare that transfer and ability to purchase insurance should be allowed across state lines. My second point would be for torte reform to be a major part of the reform. My third point would be that care should be paid on the outcome and not on the amount of testing, services, or anything that increases the use of a procedure without a definite benefit."

Actually, each of these things are in the current HCR bill, at least as pilot projects so you should be a supporter if these are the issues you care about.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

As soon as you answer my still-pending questions to you, I will be more than happy to answer your later-asked questions to me.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Visionbrkr: "you'll lose a large segment of those Judeo-Christians with a pro choice stance."

No, that line is already drawn. And it already does not exclude universal coverage nor ending discrimination for pre-existing conditions. But the most curious (and self-revealing) implication is that religious people wouldn't see that, by making a more moral country in some ways, it might not then change hearts in other ways.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Here's another problem concerning health care as I see it. Politicians are care only about getting re-elected in November, not doing what is good for the people of this country. They want to keep their cushy jobs. It's the public be damned. That's not the reason we sent people to Washington, it is for the benefit of the people. If they get defeated, so be it! At least they can hold their heads high and say what they did was right for the people. It's disguating!
Jon

Posted by: jtisch | March 12, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@ JakeD2(if the GOP take back both Houses of Congress, will you agree that the Dems should have called it quits this close to the finish line?

You know, civil right legislation wasn't too popular when it passed. Lots of people lost their seats. Dumbocrats knew thy would lose the south for the foreseeable future if they pushed it through. Do you think that the many civil rights acts should have been shelved because it was not popular at the time or because one party would lose some seats in congress?

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Very simply anyone who tells you that they can lower cost AND give you better quality of coverage AND add a huge group of people who have insurance (many of them can't afford the insurance and guess who will be paying for them) is crazy. Or is just really good at putting out fake numbers. If you tax for 5 years and then the first year you can say, WOW look we covered our costs.

1) The long term doesn't work like that
2) No federal entitlement program has saved the government money. It always ends up costing us more. Social security was originally created for people who lived past the average life expectancy. Now its become a handout to anyone over 65 with little chance of getting the age readjusted again. These programs always spiral out of control.

Posted by: Natstural | March 12, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2: "if Obamacare passes and costs exceed 20% of GDP by 2017, will you at least admit that the status quo would have been better?"

--Absolutely not. If the standard of living or quality of life has improved beyond what is predicted, then Obamacare will have bested the status quo by every useful measure.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone read Ken Gormley's new book about Bill Clinton: "Death of American Virtue"?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@JD2: As soon as you answer my still-pending questions to you, I will be more than happy to answer your later-asked questions to me.

Huh? I looked upthread. What questions? do you mean this one?
"What's next: "FREE cars for those who can't pay"? "FREE cappuccino makers for those who can't pay"

If you don't know the difference between basic health care and coffee makers, what is the point of even engaging you (beyond seeing you make a fool of yourself, that is.)

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Lee_A_Arnold:

Don't tell me you believe the World Health Organization ("WHO") rankings that show the United States does not have the best healthcare in the world too?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

The "point" is to see where (if at all) you will draw the line.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@jaked2:
Don't tell me you believe the World Health Organization ("WHO") rankings that show the United States does not have the best healthcare in the world too?


Its the best if you have access to it. Isn't it interesting that there is not a single modern democracy where the people would trade their health care system for the US model. Even Canada, where people are pretty familiar with how our system "works." Everybody else in the rest of the developed world must be pretty stupid. (They don't hold a candle to you, though.)

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

For an independent, you sure sound partisan. If you supported the wingnut judges (most of which got onto the bench anyway) you may be to the right of repiglicans, if that is possible.


Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse


Oh i remember now. You inferred he was to the RIGHT of Republicans. Oh i'm sorry repiglicans. Yes it was about healthcare but it was YOU who brought up the right wing judges.


"Such statements are all the better for a little proof."


Please don't tell me you're not on FDL regularly. You'd fit in just fine with the loons over there.

http://firedoglake.com/2009/10/03/fdl-book-salon-welcomes-jonathan-tasini-the-audacity-of-greed-free-markets-corporate-thieves-and-the-looting-of-america/

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2, we're already paying a ton of money to treat people in emergency rooms for things that could either be treated by a regular physician or things which could have been treated by a regular physician if the patient had been able to seek treatment before it became an emergency.

Posted by: MosBen | March 12, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@JD2: The "point" is to see where (if at all) you will draw the line. Well I draw the line somewhere beyond allowing people to die in the streets because they don't have access to health care and before coffee makers for everyone and a pony(!!!). And please don't give the that emergency room crap. Trauma and critical illness care is not health care.

In the wealthiest country in the world, I think that everyone should have access to the basics, food, clothing, shelter, education, health care. Everyone doesn't get to live in a gated community with servants feeding them bonbons, but I do believe in a social safety net.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@ visionbrkr: If you had read the thread, you would have seen that s/he brought up the judges not me.

"orientyourself:

I assume you were in favor of the Senate Republicans using the "nuclear option" to confirm GWB's judicial nominees then?

Posted by: JakeD2 |"

Being to the right (or left) of a political party is not the same as being in the party, is it? What is your point? Did you think that Bush's nominations were in the moderate mainstream of judicial thought (you know nominated by a uniter not a divider?)

I don't read FDL much, actually. I found many posters there to be health care purity trolls.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

and VB, Jake can fight (and lose, at least that's all we've seen so far) his own battles, I bet.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

A cool cartoon of Glenn Beck and how his shows are built by "bearing false witness against his neighbors". He calls people communists, fascists, Stalinists, Marxists and socialists. Beck called President Obama a racist.

Glenn Beck sure violates a lot of God's laws in his programs, yet religious right (so-called) Christians lap up his every word ignoring or excusing his violations of the Ten Commandments or God's wills as directed in the Bible. Beck gets away with his production of hate by 'claiming' he is 'born again'. Those words seem to be just a ticket to exploiting those in the religious right. They worked for Bush, Palin and countless other conservative politicians who regularly exploit the unwitting, gullible religious right conservatives.

THE BECK CARTOON:
http://journals.democraticunderground.com/AnArmyVeteran/36

Posted by: LSRolirad | March 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

If i was wrong and you didn't bring it up first then i humbly apologize.

but you did say he was "to the right of repiglicans", no?

to me your antics are as bad as the trolls from the right. The point is you were being derogatory towards him or her. No need to stoop to troll level. Just my opinion, if i'm still allowed it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

Do you draw the line to include or exclude "FREE cars" (I didn't ask about ponies ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

MosBen:

So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@vb: The point is you were being derogatory towards him or her. No need to stoop to troll level. Just my opinion, if i'm still allowed it.

I would think that it would be a badge of honor to him to be so pure in his Randian fantasy land that he is to the right of the republicans. Really, I'm not kidding. And I believe that supporting some of the Bush judicial appointments put a person on the far right fringe. Those appointments are scary.

I don't troll. I don't go to redstate and bait the monkeys there. I don't concern troll or purity troll here. I believe the things I write. I argue in good faith. I try to use a bit of humor.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Read my lips: of course, the people want health care reform. Only a brain-dead ditto-head could seriously oppose fixing a system that drains citizens of their premiums then dump them when they get sick. Duh!!!

Posted by: Reesh | March 12, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

So Ezra, were the questions along the lines of "When did you stop beating your wife"??

Its all in the presentaion of the questions. Thats why Libs and Conservatives can get different Polling results from the same sample group!

Posted by: morphy | March 12, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@JD2:Do you draw the line to include or exclude "FREE cars" (I didn't ask about ponies ; )

Do I really need to respond to this? Basic social safety net: Food (not Iron Chef, but nutritions), clothing, shelter (not the ritz, but not cardboard shanty towns either), basic preventative and restorative health care, basic education (literacy and numeracy, something we lack right now), etc.
From the UN:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

That pretty well sums it up. No ponies or cars.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Whew! That was like pulling teeth. Here are my answers to your questions now:

Yes, we rely on foreign intelligence to direct U.S. foreign policy. No, I don't think that the Civil Rights Act should have been shelved because it was not popular at the time or because one party would lose some seats in Congress. If you want Obamacare to be your generation's Waterloo, be my guest.

As for the link you asked for: http://www.randcompare.org/us-health-care-today/spending

The following question, however, is unintelligible as written: "If you think the status quo is where we should stay (not even repiglicans believe that load of ****), if you don't want the Kansas sea side land, perhaps a tropical vacation in Fairbanks?"

Care to re-phrase the question?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats, no matter what they think their polls tell them, have not yet recognized that for the public the entire health care debate now boils down to a single, simple question: "Who do you trust more to guard your health: the government, or insurance companies?"

Neither is trustworthy, but sadly, the government increasingly seems less so.

Posted by: jzlomek | March 12, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It is not becoming more popular. It is becoming less popular by the day. That is a flat-out lie and anyone who buys it is a sucker. Anyone who carries it forward is also a liar.

Posted by: rickbrownell | March 12, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@JD2:
"Yes, we rely on foreign intelligence to direct U.S. foreign policy."
Uh oh, 1 world government, here we come ;-).

" No, I don't think that the Civil Rights Act should have been shelved because it was not popular at the time or because one party would lose some seats in Congress. If you want Obamacare to be your generation's Waterloo, be my guest."

Are you saying that the civil rights bill was the dems waterloo in the 60s? Do you believe that HCR is similar to the civil rights movement in its ability to make the US a more just society?

Care to re-phrase the question?
Do you think that the status quo is better than the current HCR bill for the majority of people in the US?

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2: "Don't tell me you believe the World Health Organization ("WHO") rankings that show the United States does not have the best healthcare in the world too?"

Well I hadn't thought about innovation in medicine, although I don't think it will stop at all. Indeed, to hear the corporations tell it, it is likely that the concessions Obama signed early to big pharma will enable its innovations to proceed unimpaired.

Whether that improves healthcare outcomes, is up for grabs.

But what I was actually referring to is the increases in (1) labor productivity across the board by more secure and transportable medical plans, since insecurity leads to increases in nonmonetized personal transaction-costs, such as time and worry, and (2) possible incentives for small business start-ups by new entrepreneurs who can rely upon this simpler exchange listing for the insurance market than we have currently.

What actually astonishes me is that developed Europe and Asia have general productivity figures in the same ballpark as the U.S. This is very odd because after reading Adam Smith you would guess that the U.S. should have much HIGHER productivity, because it has a much larger domestic market, so innovative ideas should transfer to other fields the fastest here. "The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market." More division of labor = more specialization, and therefore more innovation, and therefore more productivity, because innovations spillover into other industries. The preceding sentence is really a prose expression of the current concepts of economic growth theory. OF COURSE some of these things are nonmonetized themselves, and will only show-up in "quality of life" indices... But what if it is the arrangement of U.S. healthcare (in addition to its stingy provisions in education) that is holding the rest of its industries down to the productivity levels of smaller (and indeed more socialized!) countries??

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@jd2:So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?

Take a stroll aroung teh google.

Search on US homeless deaths per year...

There is no excuse for willful ignorance of the plight of the poor.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

srw3:

U.S. homeless deaths occur in hospitals or while they are sleeping (just like people with homes). The Civil Rights Act gave birth the the GOP Southern Strategy which even controlled the region where TWO DEM Presidents came from. I do not believe that HCR is similar to the civil rights movement in its ability to make the US a more just society, because we will be a bankrupted society long before that ever happens. I do think that the status quo is better than the current HCR bill for the majority of people in the U.S.

Lee_A_Arnold:

The "lost" productivity is accounted for in wasted leisure time (i.e. TV or, hard as it is to believe, the Internet ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@jd2:So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?

Take a stroll aroung teh google.

http://detnews.com/article/20090129/METRO08/901290400/Life-goes-on-around-body-found-frozen-in-vacant-Detroit-warehouse

http://oldtimer.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/one-cold-night-four-homeless-deaths-in-atlanta/

In santa cruz county, one of the wealthiest parts of CA.
http://www.nhchc.org/memorialday/SantaCruz2007DeathsReport.pdf

This took about 10 minutes. I bet you could do it too, if you try really hard. Search on US homeless deaths per year...

Willful ignorance of the plight of the poor.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2: "The "lost" productivity is accounted for in wasted leisure time (i.e. TV or, hard as it is to believe, the Internet"

How can that be? Europeans can veg on a sofa as well as anyone. They work shorter hours and take longer vacations.

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

In Los Angeles County (from 2000 to 2007) there were 2,815 reported deaths of homeless individuals. That's only an average of 400 per year and no reasonable basis to have government takeover the entire healthcare industry. While tragic, those 400 deaths are far less than the number of traffic fatalities in Los Angeles County (we aren't outlawing automobiles).

The most common cause of death among homeless individuals was a cardiovascular event, accounting for almost a quarter of all homeless deaths, followed by unknown cause, and intoxication by substance abuse, comprising 23% and 22% of deaths, respectively. You can try to discount "trauma and critical illness care" all you want, but we are already paying for treatment, especially at the end of their lives. Some of those deaths were in hospitals, so your claim about "I guess you would rather live in a country where the dead body carts roll though the streets to remove the bodies so your vision won't be sullied by their presence" is hyperbole.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Lee_A_Arnold:

Do you really want me to list all the "waste" and excess we have here in America that most Europeans can only dream of? Have you ever WATCHED foreign television?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

srw3,

I LOVE IT. There are NO homeless in Europe or other socialized countries huh? Just in the US?

Oh whoops.

http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2003/0210/homeless/story.html

sorry its a little dated but only took me 5 seconds.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

@jd2:U.S. homeless deaths occur in hospitals or while they are sleeping (just like people with homes)
Really...From the first link "It starts with a phone call made by a man who said his friend found a dead body in the elevator shaft of an abandoned building on the city's west side.
"He's encased in ice, except his legs, which are sticking out like Popsicle sticks," the caller phoned to tell this reporter."

Dying in a house, on the street, or in a hospital bed for lack of proper health care (or any health care until it is too late) probably doesn't matter to the dead person.

From the 4th link...
"As a result of these factors, homeless people are three to four times more likely to die than the general population (O’Connell, 2005). This increased risk is especially significant in people between the ages of 18 and 54. Although women normally have higher life expectancies than men, even in impoverished areas, homeless men and women have similar risks of premature mortality. In fact, young homeless women are four to 31 times as likely to die early as housed young women (O’Connell, 2005). The average life expectancy in the homeless population is estimated between 42 and 52 years, compared to 78 years in the general population."

If you are sick and and homeless, the fact that you might get to go to a hospital for your final days is small comfort.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@vb:I LOVE IT. There are NO homeless in Europe or other socialized countries huh? Just in the US?

The highest rates for lifetime literal homelessness were found in the UK (7.7%) and United States (6.2%), with the lowest rate in Germany (2.4%), and intermediate rates in Italy (4.0%) and Belgium (3.4%).

So the brits beat us out, but we still have more homelessness than anywhere in continental europe.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118510301/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr:

I don't think there are traffic fatalities in Europe either, especially in all those tiny automobiles travelling over 100 MPH ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I should have said "over 62.14 KPH" (is there an different metric system for "hour"?)

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@vb: And we are the richest country with more wealth and resources than any of those cheese eating surrender monkey countries...

An oldie but a goodie...
"The United States has the highest poverty rate of any industrialized country and the stingiest and meanest welfare system. Poor people aren't popular anywhere, but nowhere are they so neglected and demeaned as here; nowhere are welfare programs run so punitively and inefficiently-as measured by cost per person or by "efficiency" in getting people off welfare and back to self-support: in Western Europe, antipoverty programs pulled from 10 to 60 percent of recipients up and out of poverty in the 1980s; in the United States, the relevant rates varied between 0.3 to 0.5 percent, even though our unemployment rates were always lower. Furthermore, regressive taxes on low income groups here pushed more people into poverty than income transfer programs pulled out; the opposite was true in Europe."

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Economics/Welfare_ACWDowd.html

And this was from when the economy was booming not in the Great Recession...

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Instead of the "stingiest and meanest welfare system" in the industrialized world, it would be better to have no such system at all.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2: "Have you ever WATCHED foreign television?"

Have you ever WATCHED any Europeans?

2. O sure, go ahead and list all the excess waste...

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, for starters, there are over 300 channels on TV. I'll be right back with a complete list . . .

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow.
103 comments because polling (not just the WH's) shows that support for the HC reform bill is rising.
Sounds like the folks against HCR are getting a bit desperate...and scared.

Besides the polling with its give or take a few points show that basically half of the country approves the HC bill and half does not. Make sure you remember that a nice amount of those dis-approving do so because they want an option of a public option.
What I would really like to see is regional polling...I have a feeling that the South pulls down the numbers from the rest of the country.

Posted by: vintagejulie | March 12, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

@ JakeD2 and VB:
"So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?"

This is where the thread started. You said that people are not dying on the street. I pointed out that this is demonstrably false. Your statement demonstrated willful ignorance of the plight of the poor and homeless.

So, no I don't agree. People do die on the street every day in the US. It is a stain on our national character.

No one said Europe is paradise, but they do have as good or better aggregate health outcomes than the US spending between 1/2 and 3/4 of what we do, while providing near universal health care coverage. They also have a more efficient, more generous, social safety net and fewer of their people are homeless per capita (excluding Britain as of 1997. If I wasn't at work, I am sure I could find more recent stats.)

"When we did the math about life expectancy being shortened overall by 36 percent, the number we came up with for the 2,815 homeless deaths was 76,000 years. I mean, it was just a startling number of lives cut short. And a lot of those deaths — heart disease, diabetes — were preventable if they were on medication."
Link http://www.commonground.org/?p=3561

Comparing auto accident deaths to homeless deaths is like comparing a fish to a bicycle. We trade traffic deaths for the flexibility to drive where we want to go. Homeless or poor people dying for lack of health care has no corresponding upside. I would think you could figure that out. Wrong again, sigh.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

nstead of the "stingiest and meanest welfare system" in the industrialized world, it would be better to have no such system at all.

Posted by: JakeD2

JD2, a real humanitarian.

This last comment demonstrates that you really do want a country where the dead body cart rolls through the street picking up the undesirables. I hope your shoes stay clean as you step over the bodies and you don't catch TB from the great unwashed.

Who knows, maybe your generosity could extend to opening poor houses or reviving debt peonage and indentured servitude to deal with the great unwashed, but that would be the dreaded welfare system again.

"If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?"

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

is there an different metric system for "hour"
Scientific illiteracy claims another victim.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Lee_A_Arnold:

My list was lost in cyberspace. Maybe next time.

srw3:

I was joking about the metric system for an "hour". Allow me to revise and extend my other remark though: "There are not LOTS of people dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care, certainly not enough to justify government takeover the entire healthcare industry). I hope that clarifies enough for you.

What I am NOT joking about is that Obamacare (and ALL FEDERAL welfare programs) should be found illegal. First, the Constitution does not grant the FEDERAL government the power to mandate healthcare insurance or provide welfare assistance or funding for transportation (i.e. my "FREE cars" question), vocational training, child care, substance abuse treatment, etc., etc., etc. Second, STATES are free to try all the free healthcare or welfare they want (until they go bankrupt of course). "Much better" as I said, would be lower taxes so that PRIVATE CHARITY can take care of the poor.

Any more questions?

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It sure seems some polls tell us how they want us to feel rather then seeking to find out how we feel.

Soon to be Republican voter.

Posted by: win1 | March 12, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, win1.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 12, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@jd2: Here is your original statement "So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?"

Note the lack of LOTS in this statement. This is just a false statement, why don't you own up to the fact that you are dead wrong on this.

Again, you are demonstrating willful ignorance of desperation and poverty and its consequences in the US that boggles the mind. I grew up on the south side of chicago and got to see poverty up close and personal, even though our family was relativel well off. Is this something you haven't experienced?

As for the constitution, I believe "promote the general Welfare" is in the document. The obvious interpretation of this phrase would include some sort of social safety net.

As for things not in the constitution, there is no mention of the air force or nasa or the internet (a completely government invented outgrowth of Darpanet) or land grant universities or airports, should we abolish them?

Why do you insist on repeating the "free healthcare " meme. Health care gets paid for by individuals or through taxes, but no one is giving it away.

"Much better" as I said, would be lower taxes so that PRIVATE CHARITY can take care of the poor."

You really believe that the Dickensian dystopia of relying on the largess of others is the direction that the US should go? Really? And when a recession (like the one we are in now) and there is 10-20%+ unemployment and underemployment, there should be no unemployment compensation or temporary assistance or WIC? When charities run out of money because people have lost their jobs, should we reinstate hoovervilles and hobo camps? This is progress to you? I now believe that you do support the dead body cart theory of reducing poverty.

BTW, have you checked out the tent city near Sacramento recently? "Jim Gibson heads to a neighboring tent, where two of his friends -- an unemployed car salesman married to a onetime truck driver -- are brewing coffee on a propane stove.
Gibson looks like anybody's sunburned suburban dad, all jeans, polar fleece and sleepy eyes, his neatly trimmed hair covered by a ball cap. Seven months ago, the 50-year-old contractor had a job and an apartment in Sacramento. Today, he struggles to stay clean and fed.
A former owner of the American dream, he is living the American nightmare." link http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/20/local/me-tent-city20

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

i never said that people were not "dying in the streets" or we don't have homelessness here in the US, we absolutely do. I just don't believe the government is the answer to all of our problems like many liberals do. I believe government and its massive growth IS THE PROBLEM.

Government should be here to regulate and keep private industry in line (and they haven't even done that right).

" Why do you insist on repeating the "free healthcare " meme. Health care gets paid for by individuals or through taxes, but no one is giving it away."

That's 100% FALSE. The poor get it for free. now I'm not saying that's wrong but I'd rather you be true to fact.


Why don't you bring up the lovely fun that's going on in Greece when unsustainable debts overcome a country. Now I'll be the first to admit that we're light years from there but they're a PRIME example of where we don't need to head towards.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 12, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Lee Arnold, you wrote a lot of interesting stuff, but let me reply to some: -- "The U.S. thinks it hit in a home-run in economic method ("capitalism,") when really it just fell into two lucky patches of history, at once: it received the scientific method of the Western Enlightenment, at the same time as it commandeered a new continent of raw materials to exploit. This dominant passage is now coming to an end.
"Capitalism means global free trade for the most efficient goods and services, and that means prices will equalize, and THAT means U.S. products will lose in competition, because U.S. labor is paying a healthcare cost 40% more than all the advanced competition."

---

You're right to point out resources and the advance of science, but the U.S. also had some additional primary factors that let it rise to the top of the economic heap. The wide-open economic opportunity and melting pot thing attracted a lot of ambitious immigrants, and they have contributed a great deal to the rise of the U.S. Also, WWII had the effect of bombing the other two great economic powers -- Germany and Japan -- about 20 years backwards in economic capital and progress, leaving the U.S. to dominate the following period where all the new tech (some from the war itself) lead to so much new consumer demand. Result: U.S. catapulted forward.

So there were many powerful factors. And yes, it means now that our American exceptionalism will be tested.

I think the Chinese currency peg (which is fully and well-recognized as the full equivalent of old-fashioned trade tariffs and export subsidy) will fall, or...something worse will happen.

I invite you to visit my blog if you'd like deeper discussion.

Here's one spot:

http://findingourdream.blogspot.com/2009/04/basic-process-behind-great-depression.html

Posted by: HalHorvath | March 12, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Does not this article make anyone the least bit ill at ease. Congress makes the laws, The President (Administration) enforces the laws and the Supreme Court is the safety valve to ensure the Constitution is upheld.

Ezra talking about the President taking control of the process sounds like an end run around Congress with their approval. It may very well lay the foundation for an interesting Supreme Court hearing if true.

Posted by: PRRWRITER | March 12, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

each week now brings us closer to the passage of this historic bill.
soon, there will be much to celebrate!
and then, we will say,
"against great odds and obstacles,
yes we did!"

Posted by: jkaren | March 12, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

srw3 -- I read "A former owner of the American dream, he is living the American nightmare." link http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/20/local/me-tent-city20"

Just for an instant, I thought the end of the text of the link was "meet-me-in-tent-city20".

Just for an instant.

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: HalHorvath | March 12, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey JakeD2:
I don't think your response to my post really makes a whole lot of sense, but I'll play along.

I didn't like anything Bush did. He and many members of his administration are war criminals. As for his use (or abuse ) of process, he was playing by the rules, so no matter what clowns he decided to put on the bench, Bush was well within his rights.

Unlike you right wing hypocrites, I believe that what's fair for the goose is indeed fair for the gander.

Posted by: orientyourself | March 12, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@vb: I do wish you would read the posts. JD2 made the statement "So you would agree, at least, that people are not dying in the streets because they don't have access to health care?" not you, so I don't understand why you are bent out of shape that I demonstrated that his statement is totally false. Is he your sockpuppet or something?

"I just don't believe the government is the answer to all of our problems like many liberals do. I believe government and its massive growth IS THE PROBLEM."
Actually I agree with you here. Govt is can't solve all problems. for example, I can't decide what to have for dinner tonight...;-). Govt can't necessarily totally solve problems, but govt definitely has a big role to play in alleviating poverty, helping the unemployed when they are between jobs, providing some basic level of health care to people in the US, etc. (I think this all falls under "promoting the general welfare" from the constitution) just like it has a role in regulating commerce, providing for national defense (not starting wars of choice that cost 1 trillion+ dollars especially without paying for them, you deficit peacock), encouraging the advancement of science and technology, etc.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@vb cont:
"I believe government and its massive growth IS THE PROBLEM." I guess you must be a democrat, since the biggest growth in govt and the largest deficits happened under Repiglican presidents.

"Why don't you bring up the lovely fun that's going on in Greece when unsustainable debts overcome a country. Now I'll be the first to admit that we're light years from there but they're a PRIME example of where we don't need to head towards."

Greece's biggest problem is that it is part of the Eurozone. If it had control of its own currency, the debt crisis could be eased far more easily. Now the Greek economy does have some structural problems, but the crippling deflation, unemployment, and loss of government services could have been lessened.

That's 100% FALSE. The poor get it for free. now I'm not saying that's wrong but I'd rather you be true to fact.

OK I agree that there are a few poor people that get a very basic level of free health care, but even medicaid has some copays

CMS’s proposed rule updates the limits for nominal co-payments and deductibles for federal fiscal year 2007 and provides the methodology for future updates. The rule increases the cost-sharing limits by 3.9 percent (the increase in the medical CPI-U from September 2004 to September 2005) and then rounds them up to the nearest 10-cent increment. For example, the maximum co-payment for a health care service that costs a state more than $50 is $3.00; to update that limit for 2007, the new rule increases it by 3.9 percent to $3.117 and then rounds that figure up to $3.20.

link finance.senate.gov/press/Bpress/2008press/prb031808.pdf

Cheap but not free. And a question for you. Should there be low cost health care for the poor? Do you (as JD2 does) think that the US should abandon all social safety net programs and go back to indentured servitude, debt peonage, and poor houses? Just wonderin...

By the same token, you have to admit that almost every other modern democracy (particularly in Europe, but Japan, Australia, and Canada, etc.) has a more inclusive and generous safety net, less income disparity, a more economical and functional health care system, and more social mobility than the US, even as those cheese eating surrender monkeys retire earlier, work fewer hours, and have more vacation than we do.

I guess its a trade off.

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Hal Horvath, thank you. Here is what I already do. Please don't miss the one called, "New Chart, for Descartes":

http://www.youtube.com/leearnold

Posted by: Lee_A_Arnold | March 12, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

ObamaCare is nothing but a load of crap. I continue to be amazed at how President Obama and Robert Gibbes can look into a televison camera and lie with a straight face.

Posted by: ironeyescooty | March 12, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

to the righties, your team did such a great job that america decided to let the smart guy from chicago have a go at the white house, geez that must sting!

Posted by: carhodesr | March 13, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

to the righties, your team did such a great job that america decided to let the smart guy from chicago have a go at the white house, geez that must sting!

Posted by: carhodesr | March 13, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

to the righties, your team did such a great job that america decided to let the smart guy from chicago have a go at the white house, geez that must sting!

Posted by: carhodesr | March 13, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

to the righties, your team did such a great job that america decided to let the smart guy from chicago have a go at the white house, geez that must sting!

Posted by: carhodesr | March 13, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing to me that so many people would choose to have profit driven corporate monopolies control their health care rather than a government that has provided so many benefits for them. No one has ever said that government is perfect, but, my God, what do you think this country would be like without Social Security, Medicare, the Interstate Highway System, Civil Rights legislation, Medicaid, or the Veterans Administration, Child Labor Laws, the 40 hour work week, and so many other social reforms they are impossible to list? If you believe it would be a glorious world of freedom where the free market controls all and personal responsibility provides fairness and equality, you are completely blind to the real history of this country and living in a very dangerous state of delusion for which all of us are going to pay a very sad painful price. In short, you are all ignorant fools. If that sounds elitist, I am no longer going to apologize. I am on a boat full of idiots who refuse to see a water fall on the near horizon. I may yet go over with you, but I'll be damned if I go without trying to save my country, my family, and my friends. You may win the mid term election, but rest assured that we will never accede to your ignorance and blind foolishness. We will see you at the polls election after election. Eventually people will choose their own self interest over blind ideology and ignorance, just as they have throughout history. You can get on board or be buried by the inevitability of progress. Frankly you have through your ignorance and stubborn adherence to prejudice and blind allegiance to conservative dogma become totally dysfunctional and irrelevant to any constructive discussion.

Posted by: makeitwright | March 13, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

srw3:

That was a question, not a "statement". I subsequently revised and extended my remarks to include an actual STATEMENT that you have not proven false. Yet, you want to (willfully?) ignore my actual statement and try to twist my question into something else. Why don't you own up to that fact, and then we can continue the debate.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 13, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

visionbrkr:

Indigent healthcare is, indeed, completely free to the recipient (for instance when they don't even have $3.20). As I stated above, STATES can provide as much of that as they want (until said States become indigent themselves, of course), but the FEDERAL government cannot. If you need to know what "general welfare" meant when the Constitution was adopted, let me know. Otherwise, keep up the good fight.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 13, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Cheap but not free. And a question for you. Should there be low cost health care for the poor? Do you (as JD2 does) think that the US should abandon all social safety net programs and go back to indentured servitude, debt peonage, and poor houses? Just wonderin...

Posted by: srw3 | March 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I not only agree that we need the safety net but i'd be in favor of expanding it. Unemployment shouldn't have a time frame but in exchange for that i'd want to find a way to ensure that its not being abused.

just as your personal experiences seem to have you demonize insurers, I'm poisoned by the "safety net". My brother in law has been unemployed for almost 3 years now. He's been offered jobs 3 different times (two of which my wife lined up for him) but they weren't "the right job". Sorry but beggars can't be choosers. Now i know that isn't everyone but I'm sure that's more common than not and if you extend programs like this you'll have people take advantage. What's to stop me (someone who can thankfully afford healthcare) from dropping salary for me and my wife and taking subsidies under the new program??

Rules should apply to all and those that don't have or can't afford should be helped but God help them if they abuse the system.

I'm also glad the senate bill is about to pass it seems. I wish they ended it there. Actually i wish there were MORE cost containment provisions in there. Higher MLR's, shorter time frames for generic availability (especially of biologics), ways to make doctors more accountable to cost. I just fear there's a lot of "hope" that this reform will reduce cost and for giving the players 30 million new people we'd need a bit more than hope IMO.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 13, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Ezra.save some of that koolaid you are drinking for that pollster from nowhere, will you?

Posted by: connyankee1 | March 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Barry: Be sure to exclude Rasmussen from your results. They lean a bit too much in the other direction.

Joel: Sure, Mr. President....we don't want that tainted Rasmussen outfit to taint our already tainted results, right?

Ain't life among the politico junkies grand?

Posted by: connyankee1 | March 13, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Ezra Klein must be getting desperate. His propaganda to help Obama force us to swallow the Obamacare scam is getting more and more ridiculous. It's the type of propaganda -- based of lies, manipulation and intimidation -- that we have come to expect from Obama, his comrades and his operatives.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | March 13, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand how an entire article can be constructed around the debate about why HCR is gaining in popularity when it's clearly UNPOPULAR. A Democratic lackey's poll alone does not undermine the dozens of other polls which say the exact opposite.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 13, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Makeitright: Your assumptions are wrong. Those who oppose HCR trust profit-driven corporations far more than the government, which has screwed up virtually every entitlement ever enacted.

If the Democrats cared so much about uninsured Americans, they could easily take about one tenth of the cost of this god awful plan and purchase health insurance for every American that wants it, but can't afford it. That they don't is all the proof you need that the motivation behind HCR is not about ininsured Americans.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | March 13, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I strongly disagree with the Health Care Bill. We cannot afford it. But there is something much deeper happening here.

http://www.communislam.com

Posted by: servant119b | March 13, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Is it true that for Pelosi to obtain the necessary votes in the House, the Health care Reform bill will offer FREE studies for those who can't pay?

Posted by: domagaya | March 13, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

it may be popular with the senate but not with most of Americans . they vote it in we vote them out . it is that simple . people are tired of the gov,meant not listening to them and trying to shove stuff down their throats so it is time for a overhaul

Posted by: mahye1935 | March 13, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

In his WAPO article, Benenson said, ""There's no question that a majority of Americans oppose a government-run health system. But there is no government-run health care in the plan, and not a single American would be forced into any government-run program."

I'm surprised Benenson overlooked the July 2009 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Perhaps he wanted to use just 2010 polls, or polls that supported his agenda? Shall we give him the benefit of the doubt?

The 07/09 poll asked, "Do you favor or oppose, having a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance through an expanded, universal form of Medicare-for all?"

Results:
Favor 58%, Oppose 38%, NA/DK 3%

http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/7943.pdf_

The proposed legislation is a giveaway to the insurers. Even the few positive changes promised (an end to pre-existing condition exclusions) won't come into effect until 2014. By then, AHIP will have found its way around the regulations.

It appears the American people know what we need and this Obama/Senate plan is not it!

Posted by: hmseilerKY | March 13, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

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