Public Wants Action on Health Care, Backs Public Option

We are into the endgame on health care with the passage (finally) of a health care reform bill by the Senate Finance Committee. Conservatives are hoping the public will rise up against a successful conclusion of this process, spurred by conservatives’ unrelenting attacks on any and all health care efforts. But the public is unlikely to do so. In fact, they say, by 61-29, that they will be disappointed if health care reform isn’t passed by the end of this year.

A big part of the health care endgame will be whether and in what form a public option is included in a final bill sent to President Barack Obama. Conservatives of course have tried to convince the public that such an option would ruin the American health care system. But the same CBS News poll shows that the public backs, by 62-31, inclusion of a public option in health care reform. This result is consistent with several other recent polls showing support for a public option.

Finally, conservatives have done their best to convince the public that Obama, with his major efforts to stimulate the economy, strong commitment to health care reform, bold plans to tackle America’s energy problem, and other initiatives is some kind of socialist out of step with ordinary Americans. But the public isn’t buying that, either. By 58-38, they say that Obama shares the same priorities for the country as they do. Policymakers, take note.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Culture page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.