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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Robert Creamer: Public Option Still Viable

it’s easy enough to find doomsayers who pronouce the public option a dead issue after the negative votes in the Senate Finance Committee this week. But Robert Creamer, author of Stand up Straight: How Progressive Can Win, has a potent antidote for the faithless in his HuffPo column on “Growing Momentum for Public Option.” According to Creamer:

First and foremost, voters’ support for a public health insurance option is as strong as ever…Last weekend’s New York Times poll showed that 65% of all voters support giving Americans the choice of a public option and only 26% oppose it.
More importantly, the public option is also popular in swing Congressional districts. The firm of Anzeloni Liszt just released the results of a poll it conducted in 91 Blue Dog, Rural Caucus and Frontline districts. The poll found that 54% of the voters in these battleground districts support the choice of a public option.
And the poll also found that the voters in these districts want reform and want it this year. The polling report says: Overall, 58% of voters believe the health care system is in need of major reform or a complete overhaul, and almost 59% are concerned that Congress will not take action on health care reform this year. The risks of inaction to Democrats in swing districts increases if voters perceive opposition stems from ties to the insurance industry, as 74% are concerned that the health insurance industry will have too much influence over reform.
Those kinds of polling results get the attention of Members of Congress.

Creamer goes on to argue that members of congress are beginning to face up to the fact that they have to produce reform that is actually affordable, if they want to get re-elected, and the public option is an essential element of any reform package that accomplishes this central objective. As Creamer concludes, “the odds are better by the day that before the holidays President Obama will sign a health insurance reform bill that for the first time provides Americans universal health insurance coverage — and includes the choice of a robust public option.”

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