Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do Americans Support Health Care Reform? Rhetoric Versus Reality

I've made many claims in this blog that the rhetoric used by the opponents of health care reform leads to misconceptions about the bill overall, and that the components of the bill are popular amongst Americans. Today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll that backs up these claims.

This poll looked at public awareness about the bill, and shows that a small plurality of the public support the bill (46% to 40%). This isn't the important point, though. If you shift the question to ask about the specific reforms the bill brings about, public support is very high. In fact, a majority of people polled support all 11 reforms that go into effect this year. Most of the time, this support is by large margins:

So, nearly 2/3 of those polled agree with the reforms coming into play over the next 8 months.  I would consider this solid support.

Even more interestingly, take a look at the support when broken down by political affiliation:

So even Republicans support these reforms, except for the future limits in Medicare provider payments.

Just wondering: if the American public overall supports these reforms, and if Republicans support these reforms in large amounts (and independents support them even more strongly), what exactly are the Republicans fighting against?  Policies and reforms that both make insurance coverage available to 32 million more Americans and that are also strongly supported by the public at large?

This, to me, is another example of what dishonest rhetoric leads to.  Calling the bill "Obamacare", "socialized medecine" or "a government takeover of health care" polarizes the discussion, even though the programs put in place by the bill receive wide support.  Health care reform's opponents use fear to galvanize opposition without allowing people to discuss and understand what really will happen when this law is fully in place.

That's because, if Republicans and other health care reform opponents engage in honest discussion, they lose.  Even in their own party.

No comments: