Thursday, August 27, 2009

Public option appears to have wide public support

So, what's the hold-up? Here's the article:

A new survey commissioned by the AARP asks respondents to what degree they support or oppose "[s]tarting a new federal health insurance plan that individuals could purchase if they can't afford private plans offered to them" -- a public option, in other words. The results are interesting, though not necessarily surprising to those who have been closely following the debate.

All: 79 percent favor/18 percent oppose
Democrats: 89 percent favor/8 percent oppose
Republicans: 61 percent favor/33 percent oppose
Independents: 80 percent favor/16 percent oppose

Not only does a public option enjoy strong support (AARP finds 37 percent strongly supporting such a choice), it enjoys broad support -- a finding based not only in this new survey but also in SurveyUSA polling released last week. Indeed, a supermajority of even Republicans supports a federal program to provide individuals with a choice for their health insurance coverage, with just a third of the party membership opposing such a plan.

So why, again, are supporters of a public option finding such difficulty in Congress?

So what's the hold-up? If I had to guess, I'd fall back on the notion of our nation as a failing state - a concept I periodically draw upon. What makes a failing state? Well, aside from a failure to help its people in times of emergency (think NOLA in the aftermath of Katrina for example), but also a persistent disconnect between those who make up the governing and ruling classes and the rest of us who have to bust our humps to make ends meet. We've seen that disconnect in play with foreign policy as well as on the home front. I really don't know the solution, other than to suggest not pinning our hopes on a man or a party, but rather on ourselves and each other.

In the meantime, we can take some cold comfort in knowing that despite the propaganda, and despite the circus freak tea-baggers who keep showing up to meetings with congresscritters and the Prez armed to the teeth and spewing venom, there are plenty of Americans who aren't quite buying into the myths. Whether or not the disconnect between our government and those of us (a vast majority) who want some tangible reform will be bridged this time is of course an open-ended question. I know better than to be overly-optimistic given the track record of the last few decades. I wouldn't mind a pleasant surprise, though.

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