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Continuing the Health Care Hypocrisy

Today I watched a video where RNC chair Michael Steele again claimed that the US people were against the health care reform bill. And that is technically true. Even in today’s poll, only 39% favored the bill that just passed, while 59% were opposed to it (2% had no opinion).

But what Steele isn’t mentioning is why people are opposed to the current bill. If you break that down, it turns out that 13% of the people polled are opposed to the current bill, but because it doesn’t go far enough. In other words, while 43% are opposed to the current bill because it is “too liberal”, 52% are either in favor of the bill or were opposed to it because it was “not liberal enough”.

To put it plainly, a majority of the people polled either are in favor of the current bill, or would have wanted it to be even stronger.

In addition, while many people say they are opposed to the current bill, if you ask them not about the bill in general, but about the specific provisions of the bill, then they are in favor of almost all of those provisions. When faced with actual facts, opposition to the bill crumbles.

In addition, Kaiser Health News printed a summary of the bill that was introduced by the Republicans in 1993 as an alternative to Clinton’s health reform effort, and dang if it isn’t almost the same thing that just got passed by Obama. And they claim that there are no Republican ideas in there. Hah!

UPDATE: after the bill passed and people had a chance to hear what was in it, its approval rating went up 10%. A new Gallup poll shows that 49% say that the bill is a “good thing”, only 40% saying it is a “bad thing” and 11% with no opinion.

© Signe Wilkinson



  1. Sammy wrote:

    I haven’t read all 1500-2500 pages of the bill, nor would I likely understand all of it if I did, so I don’t know if it is good legislation or a bloated spending package.

    I do know this however. My son’s girlfriend, who is 21, had a full time job with no health insurance, and neither of her parents had the ability to insure her on their plans. She has several internal medical issues that need attention, and the doctor bills already incurred dealing with those problems have gone unpaid, sending her into likely bankruptcy. And no, this is not the case of someone who is already in debt from irresponsible spending, making the medical issues just the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back. This is a kid with zero debt, but $20k in medical debt that the rest of us will pay for anyway through increased insurance costs.

    So every time I debate this issue in my head or with other people, I always come back to this specific situation and think there HAS to be an answer. Whether it’s single payer or subsidized private insurance or expansion of Medicare, I will leave to the experts. But this young woman’s situation is not a rare case. It’s the norm for millions of people.

    And I always wonder what would happen if I lose my job. I’m fortunate in that I negotiated long ago with my employer to cover my whole family’s medical insurance. But if this job disappeared – and it could this year – I would not be able to pay the $1400 per month to cover it. And our state’s plan has a waiting list, so that isn’t an option.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink
  2. “Whether it’s single payer or subsidized private insurance or expansion of Medicare, I will leave to the experts.”

    “…so I don’t know if it is good legislation or a bloated spending package.”

    It seems we have a Catch-22. Read any major medical journal, and you’ll see that the experts have spoken, and the ideal solution would be a simple single-payer system. But it’s the costs of real-world political coalition-building and the reluctance of centrist politicians that have forced it into a bloated spending bill.

    Perhaps the problem is that there aren’t enough of us deferring to the experts and too many of us deferring to talking heads on Fox News. It all seems like trying to play a game of baseball with no umpires…even when you know one side is lying, who’s to say who’s lying? Who’re the fans supposed to believe?

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Sammy wrote:

    Well yeah, Daniel, but the whole point of my comment was to specifically NOT comment on the merits (or lack thereof) of this bill, but rather to say if little ol’ Sammy knows someone who is dearly affected by the lack of health coverge, and if the dots can be connected that someone without care is still paid for by the rest of us (okay, I didn’t make that point, but should have), then there must be some solution that is better than the status quo. Damn! Mr. Run-on Sentence. Take a breath, dude!

    And no one should be deferring to Fox News for anything. Except for a good laugh now and then.

    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Permalink
  4. starluna wrote:

    There is a lack of certainty that I think we all feel, especially among those of us who would have preferred something more comprehensive and more efficient. It makes me think of a few lines from a poem by Lucille Clifton.

    “oh pray that what we want
    is worth this running,
    pray that what we’re running
    is what we want”

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    Starluna, while I would have greatly preferred a single payer system, and would have liked to have had a (real) public option, I’ve read the bill enough to believe that it is at least a step in the right direction. If you look at other countries that have good health outcomes, not all of them have a single payer system (for example, Japan and Switzerland), but all of them do have mandated universal coverage of some form. And what I like about the current bill (besides universal coverage) is the prohibition against canceling people for preexisting conditions, the removal of lifetime caps, requirements for preventative care, and the initiatives for reducing health care costs.

    But for a somewhat opposing viewpoint from another moderate, see

    Another viewpoint — Dennis Kucinich explains why he voted for the health care reform bill, despite the fact that he had pledged to vote against any bill that didn’t include a public option:

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  6. starluna wrote:

    I personally am relatively happy with the bill. I was never religious about single payer, given my experience in health care. I would have much preferred the public option if we weren’t going to have single payer.

    But there are still lots of unknowns, chief of which will be how well the opposition with be able to mobilize fear-filled, crazy racists in order to cripple the reform we’ve got.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink