Sunday, June 21, 2009


This morning, when I grabbed the print New York Times and read the article about about the new Times/CBS health care poll, I thought my gloomy health care post from last week had been fairly thoroughly refuted. 72% of surevey respondents support the public option! 50% think the government would do a better job of providing medical coverage, up from 30% two years ago! 57% would pay higher taxes to ensure universal coverage!


I'm looking at CBS's write-up and there are some disturbingly large openings for those who are desperate not to see this happen:

Overall, 57 percent of Americans would be willing to pay higher taxes so that all Americans would have health insurance they can’t lose. Majorities of Democrats and independents are willing to pay higher taxes, but two thirds of Republicans are not.

However, when a specific dollar amount is included in the question, support drops. Just 43 percent of Americans would be willing to pay $500 a year more in taxes to pay for universal health care.

And although 64 percent of Americans think the government should guarantee health insurance for everyone, they are less supportive when a direct cost is mentioned. If the cost of their own insurance were to rise, support for a government guarantee of insurance for all drops to 47 percent.

And even the majority support for paying an unspecified additional tax to get universal coverage is no different from what we had the last time health care reform was on the agenda. In fact, according to the raw numbers (PDF), support was higher in 1993:

Meanwhile, the trash-talking and slow-walking seem bipartisan:

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina who appeared on ABC's "This Week," said estimates on overhauling health care were "a death blow to a government-run health plan."

Dianne Feinstein of California joined Republicans in voicing reservations. Ms. Feinstein, who appeared on "State of the Union," said that controlling the cost of a new health-care system "is a very major and difficult subject."

Ms. Feinstein also said that Mr. Obama might not have the votes in the Senate to pass his legislation. "I think there's a lot of concern in the Democratic caucus," she said.

Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, appearing with Ms. Feinstein, said that overhauling the health care system should be done slowly and not this year, as Mr. Obama has insisted. "I think it should be incremental steps," Mr. Lugar said. Mr. Lugar also suggested a period of study to find and consider alternatives.

Ms. Feinstein also suggested that the results of Mr. Obama's efforts to repair the economy and overhaul the financial-regulatory system should be measured before taking on health care.

"What all of the impact of this is not yet known," Ms. Feinstein said.

I'm telling you, this is not going to happen.

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