In his ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’ posted today at the Center for American Progress web pages, TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira shows clearly that President Obama was right in saying that the major elements of comprehensive health care reform legislation he is advocating are popular with the public and that the bills in Congress would fare better if the public actually knew what was in them. As Teixeira explains:
…It turns out the president’s claim is well founded. The latest evidence is in a recent Newsweek poll that first asked respondents whether they supported or opposed Obama’s health care reform plan, then gave them a list of key provisions in the plan, and then asked them again whether they supported Obama’s plan.
…Six of the eight provisions get majority support with the highest favorability for the health insurance exchanges (81 percent), requiring health insurance companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions (76 percent), and requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees (75 percent). But the poll also asked about two provisions the public did not like: taxing “Cadillac” health plans and fining individuals who refuse to get health insurance. So Newsweek cannot be accused of cherry picking the plan for only those provisions the public would likely favor.
Before respondents heard the list of provisions, they opposed Obama’s health care plan 49-40. After respondents heard the list they switched to 48-43 support. Obama was right: If the public knew what was actually in the comprehensive health care plans being proposed, they would feel more favorably about them.
And, interestingly, those who keep saying that the public wants to abandon health care reform and move on to other legislation are dead wrong, as Teixeira explains:
…In an early February ABC/Washington Post poll, the public said, by an overwhelming 63-34 margin, that lawmakers in Washington should keep trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan instead of giving up.
As Teixeira concludes, ” Amen to that.”