Thursday, August 27, 2009

AARP Poll: 80% Support Public Option

In a new poll sponsored by AARP, 8 out of 10 Americans support a "federal health insurance plan" for people who cannot afford private plans. Fully 86% think that all citizens should be coverd by health insurance. In a stunning finding, 78% of Republicans agree that pre-existing illness should not preclude an individual from getting insurance. Across all demographics and party affiliations, 63% prefer that health insurance remain "mainly a private industry but allowing the government to serve as an industry watchdog to help expand coverage and keep an eye on costs.” (The entire PDF is here.)

A stark difference in answers is noted with 62% of Republican respondents saying that we "cannot afford health care reform right now", versus only 14% of Democrats. Only 27% of Republicans said "it's more important than ever" to reform health care now, versus 75% of Democrats. To me, this is the seminal point of the debate. Republicans do not view health care reform as potentially "bending the cost curve down" while Democrats believe that the runaway costs will only worsen if nothing is done now.

So, with so much consensus on the most important aspects of health care reform, why all the angst? President Obama needs to come back refreshed from his vacation and start a real conversation about health care reform. Passing a bullshit watered down bill just to "do something" would be ridiculous.

BTW, this is what a rational discussion of the public option looks like: video here.

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