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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Conservatives Fear Clarity on Health Reform

TDS Co-editor Ruy Teixeira’s latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’ at the Center for American Progress web pages demonstrates why opponents of health care reform spread lies and distortions about progressive reform proposals. Teixeira says that the lynchpin of their strategy is to insure that “the public can remain confused about what is actually in these plans.” Teixeira explains:

This strategy, as appalling as it is, makes sense from their avowed goal of stopping health care reform. As poll after poll has documented, the public strongly supports the basic reforms that the health care bills would deliver. The latest example of this comes from an end of August CBS News poll. In that poll, 79 percent support “requiring health insurance companies to cover anyone who applies,” 72 percent support “the government setting limits on the amount that health insurance companies can charge people for insurance premiums, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses” and 71 percent support “the government providing subsidies to help low-income people buy their own health insurance from private insurance companies.”
These are items that are sure to be in any health care reform bill that Obama signs. But does the public know that? Very doubtful. In the same poll, respondents were asked “Do you think you understand the health care reforms under consideration in Congress, or are they confusing to you?” By an overwhelming 67 percent to 31 percent, the public confessed they are confused by the health care reforms before Congress. This is the confusion the conservatives are so assiduously trying to cultivate.

Teixeira notes further that 60 percent of the public agrees that President Obama “has not clearly explained his plans for health care reform,” nearly double the percentage of those who feel he has done so. If the President meets the challenge of clarity in his speech on health care reform tonight, he could do a lot toward eradicating much of the confusion and lies about the Democratic plan — and lead America toward a new era of health security for all.

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