Public Opinion Snapshot: Move on Health Care Reform Now (and Don’t Forget the Public Plan!)
June 15, 2009
Contact: Madeline Meth
By Ruy Teixeira
WASHINGTON, DC—The battle is underway over President Barack Obama’s ambitious plans to reform our health care system. And conservatives are thinking of every way they can to stall and eviscerate such reform.
One conservative argument is that, given our serious economic problems, we just can’t afford an ambitious undertaking like health care reform. But the public isn’t buying that argument. The public said in the latest Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll by 59-37 that, “it is more important than ever to take on health care reform now,” rather than “we cannot afford to take on health care reform now.”
If conservatives fail to stop action on health care reform, their backup plan is to weaken it as much as possible. The chief focus of these efforts will be elimination of a public plan option to keep insurance companies honest and provide a low-cost alternative. But the conservatives have a problem here too: The public strongly supports the inclusion of such an alternative as part of health care reform. The same poll found that 67 percent of the public supports creation of a “government-administered public health insurance option similar to Medicare to compete with private health insurance plans,” compared to just 29 percent who are opposed.
A key word here is “competition.” The public clearly sees that a public plan is critical to ensuring effective competition in the health care marketplace. By 57-39, they say the “better way to encourage health insurance companies to provide the best product” is to have private insurance companies and a public plan compete with one another rather than just have private insurance companies compete amongst themselves.
So, the message from the public to policymakers is: let’s get moving on health care reform and, no matter what the conservatives say, don’t forget the public plan!
To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:
Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or email@example.com
Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or email@example.com
Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or email@example.com
Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or email@example.com
TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or email@example.com