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Posted at 12:23 PM ET, 12/28/2010

Live by the polls, die by the polls?

By Ezra Klein

Speaker John Boehner's office tweets, "@CNN survey: 60 percent of Americans oppose unconstitutional individual mandate in ObamaCare." The link goes to this Hill article reporting that support for the individual mandate has slipped from 44 percent to 38 percent. But if you look at the full poll (pdf), there's more of interest. For instance, this question:


So 56 percent of voters either favor the legislation or wish it was more liberal. Only 37 percent oppose it for being too liberal. There's some ambiguity as to what people mean when they use the world "liberal" in this context, but I'm pretty sure that it's not anything John Boehner would find particularly congenial.

By Ezra Klein  | December 28, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
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Wow, it's almost like there's a problem carrying out a reasonable policy debate with a 140 character limit.

Posted by: _SP_ | December 28, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

(1) Significant opposition comes from the elderly, who supposedly have a problem with all the Death Panels and Medicare cuts that the bill is totally chock full of.

Question: if your opposition to the bill was out of concern over Medicare cuts, would you claim the bill was too liberal or too conservative?

(2) Curious what the approval rating of our previous healthcare system was. I'm not endorsing this view, because I don't have any data, but if Obamacare gets 40% approval, and no other health care system under consideration has more than, say, 30% support, how is one to define whether it is 'popular' or not?

Posted by: eggnogfool | December 28, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"Wow, it's almost like there's a problem carrying out a reasonable policy debate with a 140 character limit."

POTY nominee?

Posted by: eggnogfool | December 28, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

So Ezra...

Where is the democratic party leader that is going to stand up and make the moral argument for the mandate? Along these lines:

"So you don't think you should have to pay for health care if you don't want to, but if you suffer some sort of accident you have no problem going to the emergency room and having the taxpayers pick up your tab. Yes I understand we've become a nation of me-first hedonists, but why should the taxpayers have to carry the cost of your healthcare? Why do you get a free ride?"

Is there a Democrat in the country that will stand up and make that sort of argument? I doubt it. Certainly not Barack. That dog don't hunt. But "personal responsibility" is why the republicans were for this is the first place. It is far past time to pick up that cudgel and beat some heads with it...

Posted by: AgaBey | December 28, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Lastly Ezra...

Bolstering the above moral argument (made vociferously once by Republicans), would be the statistical argument. To go there we need to know this:

How much taxpayer money went to cover emergency room visits of the uninsured last year?

Posted by: AgaBey | December 28, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Opinions regarding the unconstitutional provisions of the PPACA are relatively meaningless: there are no taxpayers willing to pay the bills, there are too few physicians willing to provide service, and even the most ardent supporters of the statute have granted waivers of many of its provisions. At this point, the PPACA is Swiss cheese: it's merely the most massive tax ever levied on the middle class.

What new "data" do PPACA apologists and groupies want loyal Americans to consider? If the PPACA is so good, why does the HHS need to hide all of the fiscal information? If the PPACA is such an Affordable Achievement, shouldn't the Obama/Pelosi Regime be proud to share the numbers coming in -- proud to see "compliance" with all of the fiscal "estimates" they offered as a matter of public record?

Posted by: rmgregory | December 28, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Replace "140 character limit" in _SP_'s comment with "Republican politician" and it's even more true.

Posted by: oscarfab | December 28, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's get this nonsense about "cuts to Medicare" out of the way. The "cuts" are the removal of subsidies to insurance companies (remember them?) to help pay EXTRA for the Medicare Advantage program which creates EXTRA PROFIT for insurance companies. In other words, the taxpayer has been subsidizing "cadillac plans" for seniors -- coverage IN ADDITION to the basic medicare coverage that each of us has as part of our social security. AND they get to pay higher premiums TO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES for the privilege. And here's the kicker: The subsidies exceed the cost of the plans, so they go straight to the insurance companies as pure profit. And THAT'S the part that's being "cut." The Republicans know this; they also know that you don't. They are shameless.

Posted by: guyol | December 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

How about we cut the nonsense about how the mandate is putting the legions of deadbeat emergency room users in their place. The only people who use an emergency room for care and do not pay dearly are those with no assets or income to attach. Exactly the group that will get free/subsidized insurance/health care on the taxpayers and paying insurance customer dime.

The difference to the taxpayer and those who will have to pay more for their insurance is?

Everyone knows this. A few years back we needed health care reform to help out the poor besieged emergency room users who payed a hundred times what an insurance company would for an equivalent service. But a new script was need and all are onboard.


Posted by: davidring | December 28, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

There can be a difference between what you and a health insurance company consider healthy. Some insurers will say that you have a health condition if you smoke, are overweight, are taking prescriptions, or had a medical condition in the past. If this describes you, you may want to search and read “Wise Health Insurance” on the web.

Posted by: josephpatel | December 29, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

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