The current sticking point on health insurance reform is the public health insurance option, with a majority of congressional Democrats favoring it, a handful of Blue Dogs wetting themselves over it, and the Republicans hallucinating about it. What’s being left out of the equation in Washington is how the American people feel about it.
Polling on this issue has been misleading. After a June poll showed 76% support for a public health insurance option, pollsters simply stopped asking that question. Instead, they’d ask overly broad questions about the overall reform effort, and the headlines were all about “slipping support.” Nowhere was it considered that the “slipping support” might have had something to do with the regular reports of the death of the public option.
When they finally did ask again, 79% of Americans said they favor a public option.
What hasn’t really changed, and what everyone acknowledges, is that almost everyone opposes the pubic option. That’s the one where the insurance companies have you by the short ones, able to refuse you coverage for a pre-existing condition, deny your services with their own death panels, retroactively terminate you if you get sick and made a mistake on your application, and pretty much just build their profits into whatever coverage you get, because your life depends on it.
The problem is, the public option is the only real solution to the pubic option. There’s no way to pass regulations strong enough to ensure that you don’t end up with cheap, junk insurance that’s already putting people in the poor house (Try to remember the last time your auto insurance paid for anything). The public option will serve as that safety net, and despite even more recent rumblings that it’s been left for dead, the President can, must, and will make sure it passes.