This is for you, Joe Scarborough. Yet another poll shows ridiculously high support for a public health insurance option.
The rest of the poll is rife with the kinds of contradictions that arise from the gap between what people want, and what they are willing to do for it. What a surprise, for example, that a poll of people who 89% of have health insurance think that health care reform is too focused on insuring the uninsured, as opposed to controlling costs. As if insuring the uninsured does nothing to control costs.
To be clear, I think polling is irrelevant to whether the public option is a good idea. The public can be idiots. I mention it because the public option is a good idea, and since the public supports it so overwhelmingly, there’s no good reason for the Democrats not to pass it.
When I saw this item at HuffPo, declaring that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly backs the public health insurance option, I immediately thought “There has to be a catch.”
The clip at HuffPo was only about a minute long, so I figured there must have been a walkback later in the interview. I found the full interview at the Heritage Foundation’s website. There’s no walkback, but the clip has some great moments. Not only does O’Reilly nail why the public option is necessary, he also makes several comically half-assed stabs at pronouncing long lost Janeane Garofalo twin Nina Owcharenko’s name:
While O’Reilly doesn’t back off from his support for the public option, he does preface his remark by saying it’s not going to happen. Aside from my own reporting to the contrary, O’Reilly might take heart from this widely-circulating clip from yesterday:
While media accounts of the death of the public option may have created the impression that public support for it may have waned, perhaps repetitions of this scene, along with some actual facts, will help to turn that tide in favor of O’Reilly and “the folks.”
During President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress last night, delivered over the din of Republican obstruction, he spent 7 paragraphs speaking about the need for a public health insurance option, and included one in the White House’s reform plan. What did the Associated Press take away from all of this?
Analysis: Obama willing to deep-six public option
This analysis seems to spring from these two sentences:
For example — for example, some have suggested that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. Others have proposed a co-op or another non-profit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring.
So, two sentences placating the GOP’s and Blue Dogs’ macaroni art constitutes a repudiation of the public option?
Read the rest at Mediaite
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.
Every few weeks, it seems, the media is reporting the death of the public health insurance option, so I was happy to see them move on to a new target, the Gang of Six and the idea of a bipartisan reform bill. What’s really cute is watching seasoned pros buy into the idea that the White House, in a Popeye-esque brogue, is going “That’s alls I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”
The public option was never not going to be allowed to pass. The fact that the Republicans are giving the White House cover now is just an awesome bonus.
Tonight, I introduce the postlet. The name might indicate a short blog post, but what it really is is a post that’s short on links and polish, and long on me mouthing off because I am constantly having my time wasted, so I’m really annoyed. I’m also including a random picture, because I like my posts to have a picture, but I don’t feel like thinking of one that goes with this post.
I’m not going to tell you who has been wasting my time today, because I want you to have the fun that comes with those “blind gossip” items, like, “Who’s the blonde starlet recently seen playing nude backgammon with that married entertainment lawyer?” or “What committee has press people who don’t, y’know, interact with the press?”
On a completely unrelated note, someone in the press is finally noticing how awful the $80 billion PhRMA deal is. Except not really. This Fortune article misses everything I pointed out in June, but does point out new awfulness that’s based on details that hadn’t emerged when I wrote mine. So, add this + this. Well, I guess now we know all we need to know about that story.
At today’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs cited an NBC poll that shows that shows that only 45% of Americans currently believe in “Death Panels.” He cited this as evidence that the President has been effective in debunking myths about health care reform.
I would argue that 45% is an awfully large number to believe in a health care Sasquatch, but even granting that, the President’s effectiveness at combating myths is cold comfort if the Democrats in congress don’t get the message. I asked Gibbs what happens to the next health care provision to become the subject of an urban legend:
TC: On health care, you were talking about Chuck’s poll earlier, that — I mean, the good news that most Americans no longer believe in death panels. But the fact remains that Section 1233 was taken out of the House bill. So what can you do to reassure voters that the same fate won’t befall other provisions of the bill if some rumor like the death panels gets started about the public option?
MR. GIBBS: I don’t — I’m not following the thesis of your — the section that’s been pulled out.
TC:Section 1233 about the end-of-life care.
MR. GIBBS: It’s been?
TC: There was a report earlier this week that it’s been dropped.
MR. GIBBS: Well —
TC: Is that not true?
MR. GIBBS: This is in a Senate Finance Committee bill that nobody has seen? Look, what I’m saying is, I think the President is going out there and explaining what those provisions are and what they’re not — regardless of whether they’re in what section of what bill at what time, I think it’s something that the President has been focused on doing and correcting the record. I think it has more to do with a sustained dialogue in dealing with the misrepresentations as it has whether or not a provision may or may not have been dropped.
While I’m happy to credit the President with quelling some of the “death panel” nonsense, I would be more comforted if he could lend some of his, shall we say, fortitude to his panicky congressional standard-bearers.