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Posted at 3:44 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Support for repeal is vastly overstated, part 973

By Greg Sargent

You're probably sick of hearing me argue that simplistic polling exaggerates the support for repeal, while more detailed polling causes support for repeal to plummet, but this latest survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation is particularly interesting:

When it comes to what lawmakers should do next on health reform, Americans' views are all over the map: 28 percent want to expand the law, 19 percent leave it as is, 23 percent repeal it and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative, and 20 percent repeal it and not replace it.

More favor expanding the law (28 percent) than favor "repeal and replace" (23 percent). Note that the poll doesn't specify what the law would be replaced with beyond a "Republican-sponsored alternative." But support is still relatively low, suggesting public skepticism about what that alternative might be, or at least an unwillingness to have faith that it would be a good one.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent favor doing away with the law entirely. That is very much in sync with what other similarly fine-grained polls have found.

The totals are also interesting: 47 percent favor either expanding the law or keeping it as is, versus 43 percent who favor either "repeal and replace" or total repeal.

Also striking: When asked what they want done with the law if repeal fails, only 33 percent of Americans support cutting off funding to gut the law, versus 62 percent who disapprove of this course of action.

As always, this doesn't prove that health reform is popular. In fact, the poll finds that the number of Americans who hold an unfavorable view of the law has gone up, and now stands at 50-41. But drill down into public attitudes and there's no sign that this translates directly into support for getting rid of the law. When you offer folks a range of options, support for repeal suddenly drops rather dramatically.

This supports the argument that the case for repeal gets tougher and tougher to make once you begin to talk specifics -- and also stands as yet another sign that health reform is here to stay.

By Greg Sargent  | January 25, 2011; 3:44 PM ET
Categories:  Health reform  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup

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BREAKING NEWS


ALERT


BREAKING NEWS


UNPRECEDENTED


OBAMA WILL SEEK TO REDEFINE EVERY WORD IN THE DICTIONARY TONIGHT


AND Obama will introduce his own alphabet tonight


WASHINGTON DC Jan 25, 2011 - In an unprecedented move in the history of mankind, Obama will attempt to redefine every word in the English language tonight in the State of the Union message to Congress.

Sources close to Obama say that he is "almost done" redefining every word in the dictionary, and Obama will be ready tonight.

Obama has been working on this since before the November elections.


ALSO, sources say that Obama will introduce his own alphabet tonight - which in an UNPRECEDENTED move, will redefine for all time what a "vowel" and a "consonant" is.


Some sources say Obama is at "S" and others say Obama is already at "W."


Obama, in another unprecendeted announcement, will actually redefine the word "Obama."

Republican leaders have said today that they think the word "Obama" should mean "Bait-and-Switch," however democrats are speculating that "Obama" will be redefined as something close to "Translucent-One."

Only tonight will tell.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If PL readers expressed support for doing away with posts about simplistic polling that exaggerates the support for repeal, would you please this torture?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

sbj -- not a chance.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 25, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

please [stop] this torture

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse

How long is this "legislative day" going to go on for ?


_______________________

There is no doubt that "simplistic polling" ends up OVERSTATING support for the health care bill.


If one asks about a PART of the bill, the OVERALL costs become obscure.

People are against the COSTS of the program - and the market distortions (OK we have market distortions now, I agree to that)


However, ask someone if they want a benefit which they do not have to pay for, they will say yes.

Ask them to pay for it, then you get a reading which is closer to accurate.


Ask someone if they want a benefit, but everytime they get it, they have to pay for it AND pay for someone else, then you get an answere closest to Obama's plan.

Obama is FORCING people to pay for themselves AND FOR other people.


Ask people if they want that.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

What does "expand the law" mean?

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 25, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

NovaHockey: do more of the things it's already doing. and perhaps a public option.

but it's a fair question. at a minimum it suggests that the law is partly unpopular because at least some people wanted it to be more ambitious.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 25, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"What does "expand the law" mean?"

Perhaps it means expand the law to *reduce the cost of health care* - since that is the bill of goods we were sold in the first place! (And no, the PO doesn't do this.)

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

ASK THIS

Ask someone if they want a benefit, but everytime they get it, they have to pay for it AND pay for someone else, then you get an answer closest to Obama's plan.

Obama is FORCING people to pay for themselves AND FOR other people.


Ask people if they want that.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

sbj

WHY doesn't Greg do a piece which analyzes the NUANCE of Sarah Palin taking a poll which overstates the support for individual pieces of health care AND is potentially paid for with secret Republican money, even though Obama takes the same amount of secret money.


Greg could also include several actual pictures of dead horses.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS


Chad Ochocinco is changing his name back to Chad Johnson.


Also at the Courthouse, Greg Sargent is changing his name to Repeat Repeat.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

sbj

WHY doesn't Greg do a piece which analyzes the NUANCE of Sarah Palin taking a poll which overstates the support for individual pieces of health care AND is potentially paid for with secret Republican money, even though Obama takes the same amount of secret money.


OH I forgot - The NUANCE of Sarah Palin taking a health care poll which is conducted only by gays and lesbians and is paid for with secret money which people thought they were giving to Obama.


Greg could also include several actual pictures of dead horses.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Thx Greg -- that's probably accurate. I think the bigger, though hardly new, finding is how little support there is for meaningful cuts. Page 6 of the KFF report:

"Two in three Americans say they are “very concerned” about the federal budget deficit" and there was support for cuts more than tax hikes. but, when you get to specifics ..."So what areas of spending are Americans willing to cut? Not too many. Of the twelve areas tested in the poll, the majority were only willing to accept “major reductions” in one: foreign aid." later, it shows taht Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense are basically off limits

so, Americans are worried about the deficit, do not want to raise taxes and think we can solve the problem by eliminating foreign aid. sigh.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 25, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps it means expand the law to *reduce the cost of health care* - since that is the bill of goods we were sold in the first place! (And no, the PO doesn't do this.)"

The PO most certainly DOES reduce the cost of health care. Dramatically, depending of course on how widely available it is. Even the one proposed originally in the health care fiasco scored great on the CBO estimates. WHile I realize that the CBO is a casualty of the Right's War on Arithmetic and while I also note that you may not like HOW the PO reduces health costs, there are flaws in your assertion nevertheless.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

so, Americans are worried about the deficit, do not want to raise taxes and think we can solve the problem by eliminating foreign aid. sigh.
-----------------------------------------------------
Add the very popular other place to cut: WFA. Waste, fraud and abuse. sigh, sigh.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 25, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

WHile I realize that the CBO is a casualty of the Right's War on Arithmetic
-----------------------------------------------------------------
The CBO is an example of a government agency that has gone RINO.
Add the CBO to the list of unusual RINOs:

Thomas "He am not a demigod to the Right" Jefferson who supported federal government run healthcare.

Ya say one thing wrong, and bingo, you're on the RINO list. Even if it's 250 years late. Ya come up with the wrong numbers, and bingo, you're just a pinko, communist, fascist, nazi socialist tool of the Left.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 25, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"so, Americans are worried about the deficit, do not want to raise taxes and think we can solve the problem by eliminating foreign aid. sigh."

Yeah, by the time we Americans grow up and start acting like responsible citizens it will probably be too late. Nothing seems to register on us. We are idiots.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Ya come up with the wrong numbers, and bingo, you're just a pinko, communist, fascist, nazi socialist tool of the Left."

If you ain't John Birch you ain't Merican.

Enjoy the how tonight.

Later.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

@wb: "The PO most certainly DOES reduce the cost of health care. Dramatically."

Might I refer you to Mr Taibbi:

"In the end, the Blue Dogs won. When the House commerce committee passed its bill, the public option no longer paid Medicare-plus-five-percent. Instead, it required the government to negotiate rates with providers, ensuring that costs would be dramatically higher.

"... In one fell swoop, the public plan went from being significantly cheaper than private insurance to costing, well, "about the same as what we have now," as one Senate aide puts it... The party could now sell voters on the idea that it was offering a "public option" without technically lying, while at the same time reassuring health care providers that the public option it was passing would not imperil the industry's market share."

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/sick-and-wrong-20100405?page=2

or here:

"It may be called a “public option”, but it won’t actually be allowed to operate as a public option should. A public option which won’t destroy the insurers in time, is also a public option which can’t drive down prices effectively."

http://www.ianwelsh.net/cutting-through-the-public-option-bs/

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Might I refer you to Mr Taibbi:
---------------------------------
Well there you have it, it's either the CBO numbers or Rolling Stone Magazine article which quotes someone who says something is about the same as something else. Or something.

Who you gonna believe? Analysis using the base ten number system or quotes from Matt Taibbi?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 25, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Okay 12bar, from the CBO: "A public plan paying negotiated rates would attract a broad network of providers but would typically have premiums that are somewhat higher than the average premiums for the private plans in the exchanges."

http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/106xx/doc10688/hr3962Rangel.pdf

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/11/1/799501/-The-Truth-About-The-Public-Option-Having-Higher-Premiums

I think y'all may be confusing deficit reduction with reducing the cost of health care.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

this is sad:
=============
so, Americans are worried about the deficit, do not want to raise taxes and think we can solve the problem by eliminating foreign aid. sigh.

===================

This is the big challenge we face. It takes a massive emotional investment to confront the standing government. that emotion leads to the kind of election results we just saw. But it isn't always the best for making tough choices between a serious of bad to worse options.

My experience is that foreign aid is a target because Americans see it as their money being taken from them and given to the kleptocrats in other countries. It makes little sense to many.

We need to get it on the table, of that there is no doubt. But we need to have a long hard debate about shrinking the government. Foreign aid is just a handy lightning rod for our anger.

I'm more interested in the parade of alphabet soup agencies and such. Killing off some of them can only help America.

I am reminded of a line from "yes, minister", way back in the days when I watched a little TV.

The new political appointee faces the standing staff of his agency. He says "No one knows what you're doing here!" One of the more cynical civil servants in the audience replies "If they don't know what we're doing, they don't know what we're doing wrong."

Tell me that this isn't the fundamental though of thousands of folks on the road to an office in some federal, state, county or city building each and every morning.

And keeping taxes off the table is vital. congress has proved repeatedly that it recognizes no constraints on its spending. None. If the goal is to limit the size of government, and make it live within the means we're willing to provide then the last thing we should do is give those spendthrifts more of our money.

Ah, but what about the debt? I for one stand firmly behind Obama's words when, as a senator, he voted against raising the debt ceiling. The world won't stop revolving on its axis if we don't give the drunken sailors in congress another bump to the credit card limit.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | January 25, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

And a strong public option, tied to Medicare rates, the one supported by the real left as opposed to the weak PO forced by the Blue Dogs ... how did that one do in reducing costs, sbj?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 25, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The NUANCE of Sarah Palin taking a health care poll which is conducted only by gays and lesbians and is paid for with secret money which people thought they were giving to Obama.

Greg could also include several actual pictures of dead horses.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah ... austerity works --

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/business/global/26ukecon.html?_r=1&nl=afternoonupdate&emc=aua22

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government received a body blow on Tuesday after official figures showed that Britain’s economy shrank by half a percent in the last three months of 2010.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 25, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

@Prag: And a strong public option, tied to Medicare rates... how did that one do in reducing costs, sbj?"

You mean a plan that not even the Democrats supported?

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

sbj: That is disingenuous. Tabbai was talking about the half-as*sed PO that made it into final negotiations, which was worthless except as a symbolic inroad. When I refer to the PO I am talking about a ROBUST public option. Remember that word -- ROBUST -- from way back when. Be fair.

Please don't make me come back again.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Which Democrats?

Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus met with House Democratic leaders Thursday afternoon to reiterate their commitment to a strong public option tied to Medicare reimbursement rates.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/01/progressives-push-pelosi_n_306919.html

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 25, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Support for the individual parts of the health care bill are vastly overstated

BECAUSE the costs are not spelled out by the pollsters.


It is that clear.

This blog would be much better if this partisan garbage wasn't constantly shoveled in the faces of the readers.


But that is Greg's choice. Greg wants to offend people.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@praghs and wb: Talk about disingenuous! The fairy tale land "robust PO" you speak of didn't even have enough support in Pelosi's huge majority Dem congress to make it into the final House bill.

C'mon now.

As Ian Welsh (I quoted earlier) pointed out, the PO only works to drive down costs if it functions as a non-profit. This would drive private insurance out of business. As he said, "A public option which won’t destroy the insurers in time, is also a public option which can’t drive down prices effectively."

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Obama's SPENDING FREEZE


Would only save 5 Billion per year


But with Obama's deficits, the INTEREST IS 4 BILLION A DAY.


The liberals were so DESPERATE TO PUT OBAMA IN - AND UNQUALIFIED AND INEXPERIENCE PERSON


now Obama is dragging down the Economy -


What CAN AMERICA DO ???


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

sbj3 "If PL readers expressed support for doing away with posts about simplistic polling that exaggerates the support for repeal, would you please this torture?"

By my count we've gone 3+ days with no posts about how right wing rhetoric ([pick one or more] caused/contributed to the environment that made possible/is a bad thing generally but had no direct bearing on) the Giffords shooting.

Count your blessings.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 25, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

"so, Americans are worried about the deficit, do not want to raise taxes and think we can solve the problem by eliminating foreign aid. sigh."

Hmmm...looks like Reaganomics lives on!

Posted by: DDAWD | January 25, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

As a financial person, I get nervous whenever someone talks about how much something costs, not in numbers, but in words.

I've learned there is usually something in the numbers that he doesn't want to say.

Call me unimaginative, but I prefer my costs to be preceeded by a dollar sign and to have numbers after that. Seems like that's why the good old Arabic, base 10, number system exists. Words have a way of sliding around.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 25, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

@wbgonne "sbj: That is disingenuous. Tabbai was talking about the half-as*sed PO that made it into final negotiations, which was worthless except as a symbolic inroad. When I refer to the PO I am talking about a ROBUST public option. Remember that word -- ROBUST -- from way back when. Be fair.

Please don't make me come back again."

It may be somewhat disingenuous compared to the preferences of progressives, but is probably a pretty accurate reflection of what the "expand the law" option would actually look like once it got through Congress.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 25, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What's your point, sbj? There is no public option in ACA, we all know that. However, the public option that was supported by PROGRESSIVES, was a robust public option, tied to Medicare rates. There is no doubt this would have brought down costs. It didn't make it in the bill and neither did the weak public option and neither did the Medicare buy-in.

So ... I ask again ... what is your point?

And if the only way to bring down costs -- can we all agree that healthcare costs MUST be controlled -- involves cutting into insurance company profits, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | January 25, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@prag: My point was clearly stated in my very first comment. I want the ACA to be revisited so that we get HCR that actually lowers the cost of health care. When Obama began this grand HCR quest that was one of the primary goals. Now it's gone - poof! The ACA doesn't reduce costs. (And it only reduces the deficit because it raises taxes!)

"If the only way to bring down costs... involves cutting into insurance company profits."

That would be our problem right there. If you're starting from the point that there is only one way to reduce costs then you don't seem open to discussion.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 25, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Initial People:

I am not responsible for the Democratic Party or what it does. I supported a real PO, the kind that would reduce costs for certain b/c it would be tied to Medicare. It was to be limited,, at least at the outset, to certain Americans who could not otherwise get health insurance. That was the compromise presented at the outset of the debate. There will be books written about what happened after that.

If and when such a PO would put private insurers out of business is inconsequential. Health insurance is a waste of money altogether and the unquestionably most efficient way of delivering health care is a national single payer system, which is inevitable regardless of one's ideological preferences. We're just wasting time and making things worse by waiting. Same as with global warming. Tick Tick.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@pragmaticagain "And if the only way to bring down costs -- can we all agree that healthcare costs MUST be controlled -- involves cutting into insurance company profits, is that necessarily a bad thing?"

The primary driver of health care costs isn't insurance company profits, it's provider costs. The problem you have here is that the centralized cost cutting mechanisms of the health care bill are particularly vulnerable to lobbying by doctors, pharmaceutical companies (who if you recall cut a deal with the Obama administration to limit their "contribution" to reducing costs), hospitals, etc. See the ongoing "doc fix" votes for an example of the effectiveness of this lobbying in action.

The other problem is that the idea that we are going to save money by getting rid of "unnecessary" procedures is fanciful. Most people define "unnecessary" health care as health care being given to someone else. When it comes to their own health care issues they aren't going to tolerate being told that they can't have a test or a procedure because the "government" won't allow them to even though their doctor recommends it. If you think the Obama administration won't cave on this, then you weren't paying attention when they caved on the McDonald's insurance waivers.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2010-10-07-healthlaw07_ST_N.htm

When it comes to controlling costs, the health care law should be named, as David Brooks has pointed out, "The Status Quo Sanctification and Extension Act". All it's done is set up government subsidies to put more people into the existing expensive system in this country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/opinion/04brooks.html

Posted by: jnc4p | January 25, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"Most people define "unnecessary" health care as health care being given to someone else."

Ha! Good one.

And I agree with the rest of your post as well.

Now I'm really out.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

P.S., FYI:

Green Party leaders respond to Obama's State of the Union speech

• Green Party LIVESTREAM: Greens discuss the speech during tonight's
broadcast, 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT http://www.livestream.com/greenpartyus

• Greens on solving the deficit: end the wars, cut the military
budget, tax the rich. Greens on solving the health care crisis: enact Medicare For All. Greens on jobs: a 'Green New Deal' with massive public investment in green jobs and clean energy.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 25, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Let's see: WHAT CAN AMERICA DO?

I suggest we start by banning rainforestrising from teh internets.

Posted by: lcrider1 | January 25, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

icrider1


Typical liberal who wants to start by altering the First Amendment


The liberals should all be required to REGISTER - and they should be sent BILLS every month for Obama's debt.


If the liberals want Obama so badly, let them pay Obama's bills.


AND Clinton is responsible for the sub-prime Mortgage crisis - they were his policies.


so liberals - PAY your part of Obama's debts every month

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 25, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

"sbj -- not a chance."

That got a laugh out of me, greg.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 25, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/happy_hour_roundup_171.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 25, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

sbj: "As Ian Welsh (I quoted earlier) pointed out, the PO only works to drive down costs if it functions as a non-profit. This would drive private insurance out of business. "

Nonsense. Private insurers can be non-profits.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 25, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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