March 10, 2010

TOSSING MONEY AT A SPENDING PROBLEM:

Why Obama Can't Move the Health-Care Numbers: For every voter who strongly favors the plan, two are strongly opposed. (SCOTT RASMUSSEN AND DOUG SCHOEN, 3/09/10, WSJ)

[6]6% of voters believe passage of the president's plan will lead to higher deficits and 78% say it's at least somewhat likely to mean higher middle-class taxes. Even within the president's own political party there are concerns on these fronts.

A plurality of Democrats believe the health-care plan will increase the deficit and a majority say it will likely mean higher middle-class taxes. At a time when voters say that reducing the deficit is a higher priority than health-care reform, these numbers are hard to ignore.

The proposed increase in government spending creates problems for advocates of reform beyond the perceived impact on deficits and the economy. Fifty-nine percent of voters say that the biggest problem with the health-care system is the cost: They want reform that will bring down the cost of care. For these voters, the notion that you need to spend an additional trillion dollars doesn't make sense. If the program is supposed to save money, why does it cost anything at all?

On top of that, most voters expect that passage of the congressional plan will increase the cost of care at the same time it drives up government spending. Only 17% now believe it will reduce the cost of care.

The final piece of the puzzle is that the overwhelming majority of voters have insurance coverage, and 76% rate their own coverage as good or excellent. Half of these voters say it's likely that if the congressional health bill becomes law, they would be forced to switch insurance coverage—a prospect hardly anyone ever relishes. These numbers have barely moved for months: Nothing the president has said has reassured people on this point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 10, 2010 11:39 AM
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