Newsweek Poll: Americans Still Favor Public Option, Still Oppose Excise Tax

Newsweek poll:

Creating a government-administered public health insurance option to compete with private plans

Imposing a tax on insurers who offer the most expensive health plans, the so-called Cadillac plans, to help pay for health care reform

To be clear, this is the lowest approval for the public option I have seen. Perhaps because it was perceived as dead. No party breakdowns on that finding. But the excise tax has always polled badly and will continue to. There was a good reason Obama pilloried McCain's plan to tax health insurance plans - because it is a terribly unpopular idea.

Speaking for me only

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    Not to put too fine a point on it (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 05:52:31 PM EST
    but the mandate polls even worse.

    And in fairness, after hearing (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 05:53:15 PM EST
    the good and the bad, the "plan" has net positive approval.

    Seems like lately (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Lora on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:50:59 PM EST
    Our government of the people etc has generally discounted what the people, according to the polls, actually want.

    Yup (none / 0) (#21)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:52:13 PM EST
    And it's a significant breakdown.

    Confirmation of a long held suspicion that Washington, the Village, is a world unto itself.

    Sensible solutions to public issues are ignored in favor of deceptive Rube Goldberg solutions (apologies to Rube Goldberg) that lead back to the status quo.


    For over a year now, the American public (5.00 / 8) (#30)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:10:48 PM EST
    has watched as the Congress has, in the what is, for Washington, the blink of an eye, appropriated billions and billions of dollars for banks, brokerage firms, the auto industry, and, of course, those wars we are still fighting. It has not been easy for them, many unemployed, many losing their health insurance and their homes, to see, over a year later, millions of dollars in bonuses being paid to those working in an industry that brought us to the brink of financial disaster.  They do not understand why we reward incompetence, pay homage to greed, and ignore need.

    Meanwhile, the Congress has spent over a year "discussing" the "crisis" in health care; apparently, a crisis in health care isn't nearly as important as the various other crises that have triggered immediate action - despite the fact that health is an issue that affects every single person in this country.

    People know that Medicare is a public program; they know that it works.  For those who say that it is a failing program, going broke, and all those other dire pronouncements, I would say that opening it up to a younger, healthier population would go a long way to improving its "health."

    The truth is that we are the only industrialized nation that has not seen fit to treat its citizens as being worthy of affordable, accessible health care.  We spend more than twice as much as other countries with single-payer or socialized systems, and we have worse outcomes.

    We have an administration and a Congress that is bent on protecting an industry that is adding nothing to our health, nothing to our financial stability, and is a drag on our economy.

    This "public option" that keeps being talked about is just a phrase; sure, the House made an attempt to put together a plan, but the Senate wouldn't have anything to do with it, Obama isn't interested is the American people having access to a government program, and none of the Senators who have signed on to the letter to Reid have bothered to tell the American people what they mean when they say "public option."

    It's unacceptable and unconscionable; why, after all that has transpired, people keep thinking that somehow those they voted into office will give them the time of day, will protect their interests, will hear anything but the siren call of corporate money, is beyond me.

    Clear, cogent, (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:57:26 PM EST
    and correct.....as usual, Anne.

    Digby writes about it almost every day; "The Fact that Must Not Be Spoken."  Not by the "Village," not by the MSM, and certainly not by our elected "leaders."

    The dirty little secret is that we Americans, alone in the civilized world, accept a system called "Health Care," that is nothing more than an extortion racket, operated by a conspiracy of Health Industry executives in collusion with our elected Representatives. The goal is simple: extort as much money as possible from us, the victims, while dispensing as little Health Care as possible.


    5-stars are altogether inadequate ... (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by cymro on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 10:56:38 PM EST
    ... when rating posts like this, Anne.

    recent R2K Iowa poll numbers on health care (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by desmoinesdem on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 10:07:29 AM EST
    Research 2000 polled 600 Iowa likely voters last week for KCCI-TV. Health care numbers:

    QUESTION: Do you favor or oppose the health care reform bill passed in December by the U.S. Senate?
    ALL 36% 57% 7%

    MEN 32% 61% 7%
    WOMEN 40% 53% 7%

    DEMOCRATS 62% 24% 14%
    REPUBLICANS 7% 87% 6%
    INDEPENDENTS 35% 63% 2%

    QUESTION: Would you favor or oppose the national government offering everyone the choice of buying into a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?

    ALL 61% 31% 8%

    MEN 58% 33% 9%
    WOMEN 64% 29% 7%

    DEMOCRATS 87% 9% 4%
    REPUBLICANS 32% 59% 9%
    INDEPENDENTS 60% 29% 11%

    In other words, way more support for the public option than for the current bill--especially among independents.

    Medicare for All polls very well --not offered by (none / 0) (#54)
    by jawbone on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 11:03:08 AM EST
    either House or Senate. And sure not by Obama.

    Comparing support for expanded Medicare (Medicare for All) is not the same as support for some amorphous thing referred to as PO.

    PO is set out there to take the public's attention away from what it could get, namely, Medicare for All.

    Thanks so much for the good info.

    And look at how those id'd as Independents respond! Heavily against what seems to be on offer; very much for Medicare for All.

    And our Dems won't listen, Obama won't listen, and Repubs dread that any real health CARE legislation gets done bcz it would cement Dem power for decades. That's what Bill Kristol told the R's back in 1993-94 and it still stands: Killing real health CARE is an existential necessity for the Republican Party to survive.


    An increase of (none / 0) (#55)
    by Rojas on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 12:14:17 PM EST
    ~80% with independents and ~350% among republicans. Seems to be a birds nest on the ground.
    I don't think republicans are the problem here. I realize there is a very vocal group of republicans who will denounce it, but I think you'd find that the majority of that demographic is already on Medicare.
    I suspect there's more to it, another constituency.

    Newsweek does tend to poll (none / 0) (#3)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 05:57:23 PM EST
    to support its positions.

    If I may (being a noob here) ask just what is the current definition of the Public Option?

    Hey, if you find out, let me know! (none / 0) (#4)
    by observed on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:03:47 PM EST
    It's secondary (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Salo on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:24:02 PM EST
    The concept of offering a government administered plan for working age People is the critical thing.  The form of it is secondary.  

    If that is your belief and goal (none / 0) (#9)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:33:44 PM EST
    you are free to have that opinion.

    However, with the PO being re-introduced to the equation the devil in the details will have to be placed on the table.  Otherwise, the general public is too skeptical and sensitive to budget deficits and debt and will demand details for it to fly.

    If it is a stalking horse for single payer, it is dead it the water.

    The last I saw, it was positioned as being a self-supporting (premium funded) govt run insurance policy.

    Is that the case or is it the stalking horse?


    Thanks for allowing Salo (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:57:57 PM EST
    to have that opinion.  Very generous of you.

    But, Salo is absolutely correct.

    It's the concept of government administered health insurance that the public favors.

    Even after months of tea party coverage and constant misrepresentation and fear mongering of the concept by the usuual right-wing suspects the public still WANTS direct government provision of health care insurance.


    Salo's opinion is just as (none / 0) (#26)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:04:10 PM EST
    valuable and significant as mine.

    Can we now discuss the PO question?


    You've had the answer (none / 0) (#29)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:10:19 PM EST
    I'll repeat.  It's the CONCEPT.

    But what are the (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:13:17 PM EST

    That is all that I am asking.  Yet, nobody has stepped up to the plate.  Why?


    No one is stepping up to the plate because (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:33:12 PM EST
    there are no details - there is no defined public option - it's a damned bumper sticker, catchphrase, cash cow for politicians and access bloggers.

    In some ways, the public option is the same thing Obama claimed to be: a blank slate on which people can write whatever they want; and, just like Obama, it can be used to raise millions of dollars  - for politicians - and allow them to maintain the fiction that they actually want to do something for us, while all the while easing the ability of industry to make obscene amounts of money.

    The symbiosis is no longer between the Congress and the people, but between the Congress and the corporations.


    Finally, someone who offers up and honest answer (none / 0) (#35)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:38:47 PM EST
    Thank you Anne.

    To your point that is is a bumper sticker catch-phrase, does that not make it the stalking horse I've been asking about?

    Thanks again.


    I see the PO as a distraction so the public won't (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by jawbone on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:25:35 PM EST
    ask questions about why we have private for-profit health insurance companies...and what value do they add.

    They add layers of bureaucracy, cause doctors' offices to have to hire many people to just try to handle the delays, denials, gotchas the insurers ue to slow down spending money on actual CARE.

    Obama is a Corporatist who wants to support the high level of profitability health insurers enjoy.

    The public has figured this out and is upset that more attention and care is shown to the parasites than to the people on which they feed their coffers.

    Medicare for All...with a robust private option.


    Cute, BTAL (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:44:35 PM EST
    Seriously, a classic form of attack for attack or debate's sake is to drill down on "details." The reason: Nothing is perfect. So, if I ask you for a set of "details" about whatever you may support or propose, my next step is to pick apart everything in your answer. It really dowesn't fly. Why? Because when instituations start to change methods, the concepts are described generally to begin with and then with measurement concepts. The day-to-day details typically fill in legislation at the agency level.  But, you seem to be about playing the "detail" game. Been there, done that. Again, how cute. What next?

    Then explain, please, what this (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:57:11 PM EST
    public option is that these Senators are asking to be included in legislation via reconciliation.

    Is it the House PO, perhaps?

    Or something else?

    How dishonest is it for these Senators to speak of "as strong public option" without explaning what that means?

    And how dishonest are you for going after someone who wants to know what this public option is?

    I am getting tired beyonf belief of those who seem happy to take on faith that a freakin' catchphrase will magically transform into The Greatest Health Plan Ever, when there is nothing in this Congress' or the this WH's track record that suggests they have either a clue how to do it, or the ability to do it even if they could find a clue.

    Give me a break.


    No, Ann, I'm not dishonest (none / 0) (#48)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 10:34:46 PM EST
    I just feel as strongly about incrementalism (and a start) as you do about the complete package.

    Even an incrementalist has to know - (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 10:51:12 PM EST
    or ought to know - what the first steps are - and picking out a name seems like a pretty lame first step.

    In any event, I'm not seeing any information about what the Bennet gang is seeking to get a vote on, so other than a name, what do we have?

    And, BTW, it's "Anne" with an "e."


    What did the other 3 stand for before (none / 0) (#51)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 11:04:32 PM EST
    the letter etc? I only know/remember Gillibrand's stance beforehand. The one thing I think is good, is that they had the guts to start the "conversation" again. And Gillibrand seems to have a spine and some spunk. Perhaps they'll speak up against subpar to get us something better and bring along the others who have signed on? My personal pet peeve is the lack of negotiating 101 from the top down . . .

    The lack of negotiation (none / 0) (#52)
    by Rojas on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 12:14:12 AM EST
    Perhaps they're already bought.

    I must be slow today (none / 0) (#58)
    by christinep on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 08:30:27 PM EST
    because I'm not sure that I understand the sharpness of your response. If what you are suggesting is that all or most details need to be known at this point, I disagree. In my career, I've negotiated many settlements; and, in what has been my experience, the essential opening and closing really focuses more on the direction and the paragraphs. The fine points--which, I certainly agree is where the famous "devil in details" resides--really come later. The reason for that is that any deal is fatally threatened by the tactic of side and detail attack before the implementation process. At least, thats my experience.  And: Please accept my apology. I saw after writing my comment that I had not spelled your name correctly with an "e." Please know that the mistake was not intended.

    Didn't both the Sen and House have POs? (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:01:05 PM EST
    are you thinking they would start from scratch and recraft one and not use the one they already created or the House's (which was better iirc)? Gillibrand is a Medicare for All believer, which would suit me just fine ;) Obama won't be including one in his proposal, right? So we can't get scr*wed there, lol!~

    Your guess is as good as mine... (5.00 / 2) (#43)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:32:31 PM EST
    the letter to Reid just said "a strong public option," and didn't say which public option - the House's, the Senate's or some sort of hybrid.

    Call me crazy, but I think that if these Senators are willing to call for a public option, shouldn't they have a responsibility to explain what that means - so that the people are informed?

    As for Obama, his proposal - as I understand it - will be merely something to drive the discussion; after a year, shouldn't we be well past the discussion stage?

    It's just so much kabuki, so dishonest, so much less than what we deserve; I really cannot take much more.


    I hate to play the "Hope" card . . . (none / 0) (#47)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 10:27:27 PM EST
    BUT {grin} if they are going to "cram" through a "strong PO" and aren't catering to the Repubs/ConservaDems, I "hope" it will be a decent start to an expandable program.

    And if we get our Ponies, that means Medicare for All.

    Honestly, I do have to "hope" for something/anything at this point in the PO area. You heard about health insurance in ca recently, right . . . ? My other "hope" is, that after a big push for members there, Freelancers Union gets up and running there as a health insurance group.


    Really? (none / 0) (#34)
    by waldenpond on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:34:32 PM EST
    I see you are new.  Try using the search tools on the right of the site.  There are an abundance of posts and many threads discussing this.... or try the google.

    Ok, I'll use the search function (none / 0) (#36)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:40:22 PM EST
    but, the PO is being re-introduced at this late stage.

    Isn't it something that can be easily answered in this thread?


    SInce no one other than BO and his staff KNOW (none / 0) (#42)
    by jawbone on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:26:49 PM EST
    whether they will support a PO and if so what is in it, no one can tell you what will be on offer from the WH.

    Ahem (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:01:27 PM EST
    Is Medicare a "stalking horse" for single payer?

    I wasn't asking about Medicare (none / 0) (#12)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:03:22 PM EST
    as it is the PO that was one of the topics of this thread.

    My question(s) about the PO are sincere.  Medicare is an entirely different subject.


    You can't slither away that easily (none / 0) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:04:26 PM EST
    Medicare is unequivocally a government run health plan.

    Yes it is (none / 0) (#14)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:13:12 PM EST
    And it is broke, financially and functionally.

    How does that juxtapose to the PO?  How will the PO be different?


    Like nailing jello to a wall (none / 0) (#15)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:18:16 PM EST
    never mind.

    That's what I'm feeling (none / 0) (#16)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:21:56 PM EST
    The PO seems to be the kool-aid jello shots.

    Just what is in the jello?

    It is both a sincere and simple question.


    Do you use it ? Medicare? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Bornagaindem on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:29:03 PM EST
    My mother does and it certainly is not broke functionally. It provides decent coverage for the sickest amongst us -those over 65- for a fraction of what a private insurer would charge you. If medicare were opened up to all, small businesses and the uninsured and those who don't get coverage through work it would rapidly become the most cost effective best system around. That is why it is off the table.

    No I am not old enough to use Medicare (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:40:39 PM EST
    Riddle me this.

    Why does Medicare have a higher declination rate than commercial insurers?

    Why is Medicare not self sufficient financially, even before the baby boomers hit the system?

    Now, can we get back to my question on the PO?


    Let me help you answer your own question (none / 0) (#19)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:47:23 PM EST
    Why was Medicare passed in the first place?

    First of all (none / 0) (#23)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:59:32 PM EST
    medicare has a higher risk pool than the average insurer and private insurers will not only DECLINE your claim, they will also CANCEL your policy. You are not comparing apples to apples here and you should study some actuarial tables before making silly assumptions.

    Please (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:03:13 PM EST
    my question is about the PO.

    Why all this deflection to Medicare?

    Is it not possible to discuss the PO?


    Medicare is the ORIGINAL public option (none / 0) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:07:53 PM EST
    And your complaints about it are directly related to the (intentional, age related) constraints it operates under.

    Links to your sources, please? T/U (none / 0) (#40)
    by jawbone on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:21:39 PM EST
    Guess what BTAL (none / 0) (#20)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 07:48:31 PM EST
    you've been pegged.

    I have been very open to the fact (none / 0) (#24)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:02:33 PM EST
    that I am a conservative.

    Does that make my questions less valid?


    Conservative (none / 0) (#32)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:25:50 PM EST
    In what way? What are you trying to conserve?

    Yep, eventually, we all peg ourselves (none / 0) (#44)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:37:02 PM EST
    And, BTAL seems to have come out from his/her cover. I wonder how BTAL regards Social Security.

    NO (none / 0) (#27)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 08:05:58 PM EST
    the only people who will be making a big deal out the budgetary implications are the people who have a vested interest in preventing the demise of the private health care insurance industry and the feeble minded who support them.

    People may say that they're concerned about the budget but when push comes to shove they'll opt for the program.  They believe it's a matter of priorities and they're right that the priority should be to intitute public health care insurance.


    Maybe I should have asked (none / 0) (#5)
    by BTAL on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:08:27 PM EST
    what is the default/accepted definition.

    If it's a sincere question (none / 0) (#8)
    by Salo on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:25:36 PM EST
    I sopposed you mean - what are these polled people  thinking?

    Never, ever (none / 0) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 06:09:33 PM EST
    say "Tax."

    "Fee," "Surcharge,"
    postage & handling;"

    Never "Tax."

    Fee and Surcharge are bad also (none / 0) (#39)
    by nycstray on Sat Feb 20, 2010 at 09:03:01 PM EST
    think Ticketmaster, CC comapanies etc ;)

    Can we try this again without deflection (none / 0) (#56)
    by BTAL on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 06:11:59 PM EST
    Please explain, even in framework terms what is the Public Option that all here want to see passed.

    Once again, most here do not think either version (none / 0) (#57)
    by jawbone on Sun Feb 21, 2010 at 07:17:28 PM EST
    of what's called a "public option" by the House or Senate will serve the public well. Nor do we have any idea of what will be in Obama's bill, due out tomorrow. Reports state there will be no PO.

    But, do you have links for what for above? Again, T/U. (IIRC, you were talking about Medicare having higherst declination rates, plus some other stuff.  Source are good!)


    Public option or single payer. (none / 0) (#59)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 at 08:49:19 AM EST
    Republicans keep saying no one wants this bill. I don't know ANYONE who says that. I work for a large defense company, have good insurance, but I know the systems sucks and needs change. I have a friend in Texas who owns a small business. He fully supports a single payer plan. My manager supports universal health care. Who are these Americans that don't want the health care reform other than rich reprobates like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck?