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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Public Doesn’t Buy GOP Health Care Meme

In his ‘Public Opinion Snapshot” at the Center for American Progress, TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira shreds the latest conservative meme: that recent polls showing a plurality of the public opposes the health care reform bills in Congress indicate widespread “distaste for a big government takeover of our health care system.” Teixeira explains:

…In a December CNN poll, a total of 55 percent either favored the Senate health reform bill outright (42 percent) or opposed it at this point because its approach to health care isn’t liberal enough (13 percent). Just 39 percent said they opposed the bill because its approach to health care was too liberal.

Assuming undecideds break roughly even, that suggests 55-58 percent range of support for the Democratic health care bill or reforms that are even more liberal. Apparently, the GOP’s fear mongering about ‘socialized medicine’ is not resonating so well as they would have the public believe. It also suggests that Democratic congressional leadership is on safe political ground in negotiating a more progressive consensus bill, Teixeira adds,

Consistent with these findings, most polls continue to show strong support for key components of the health care reform bills—subsidizing people who can’t currently afford health insurance, preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, requiring mid- to large-size employers to provide health insurance for their workers, and so on—even if the bills themselves are not popular.

Teixeira cites a November CNN poll showing 60 percent support or more for such reforms. He concludes , “…Once the final health care reform bill passes and is signed into law,…conservative hopes of an anti-big government uprising against the legislation will be in vain. The public is just not on their wavelength. Again.”

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