Friday, March 13, 2009

American's Want Government Health Care

Here's an article posted by Jerry Policoff at, that dug deep into a January poll dealing with America's expectations for reforming health care. From the results posted here, Republicans are about to jump off the career cliff by opposing right out of the gate, a public health care choice. This choice would compete with the private sector, a bill killer for Republican zealots who don't see a problem with runaway premium hikes, and a hot button issue they hope to use in their re-election campaigns. Yikes! They're on the opposite side of what voters want:

"An article posted at The Huffington Post, Poll: 73% of Voters Think Health Care Reform Must Include Choice of a Public Health Insurance Plan, drew attention to a recent poll commissioned by HCAN (Healthcare for America Now) that suggests strong grassroots support for the Obama-supported Healthcare reform plan. It is indeed an interesting survey, though not a particularly candid or objective one, and if one reads between the lines, the survey strongly suggests that the one option respondents were not asked to consider, the Single-Payer option, would have resoundingly defeated the others if it had been included in the survey questionnaire.

The HCAN survey asked respondents whether they preferred health care reform with "everyone getting health insurance through private health insurance plans;" or "everyone getting insurance through a public health insurance plan;" or “everyone having a choice of private health insurance or a public health insurance plan?" 15% favored private only: 9% public only: 73% a choice of public or private.

The AHIP Plan would require all private health insurers to offer at least a set amount of health coverage to all who wanted to be covered (regardless of pre-existing conditions) through a high-deductible plan whose cost would be determined by the insurance companies.

The Government would then subsidize the cost of insurance for low income and some middle-income families. Everyone would be required to buy health insurance under this plan (a windfall outcome for the already very profitable health insurance industry).

The Obama plan would require all insurers to offer at least one standard comprehensive health plan with guaranteed benefits, with the cost determined by a family's income. Denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions would be prohibited, and restrictions would be imposed on how much people with pre-existing conditions could be charged. Everyone would be able to keep the insurance they have, or have a choice of a private insurance or a public insurance plan. (Note: nothing in this plan guarantees comprehensive coverage or affordability)

A Single-Payer system, privately administered but publicly financed was not included as a third possible option in the survey, even though such a system has widespread national support and has been endorsed by numerous mainstream organizations from both inside and outside the medical community (see, for example: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Not surprisingly, given only the Obama Plan option or the AHIP Plan option in the survey, 67% chose the former and 24% the latter.

The next question is a bit tricky. It asked respondents if they favored or opposed providing access to affordable quality healthcare for all Americans even if it means raising taxes (tricky because in reality neither the Obama Plan nor the AHIP Plan guarantees this). 60% favored comprehensive universal health care (which only a Single-Payer plan can deliver) even if it resulted in higher taxes. 31% were opposed.

The next question is interesting, and the response to it fascinating: "Do you favor or oppose providing access to affordable quality healthcare for all Americans even if it means a major role for the federal government?” 71% favored a major government role versus 21% opposed.

By a 62% to 28% margin respondents rejected the notion that a public health insurance plan would be a big government bureaucracy that would increase costs to taxpayers.
The respondents to the survey hold a dim view of private insurance companies. 60% agreed with this statement:

Private health insurers will always find ways to put profits before people. That’s why we need an independent non-profit public health insurance plan that is not driven by making higher profits, in order to control costs and guarantee access to quality affordable health care.

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