Following up on yesterday’s post, I see that a brand-new New York Times/CBS nationwide poll shows widespread support for a real public health insurance option. The wording of the question was clear: “Would you favor or oppose the government’s offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan like Medicare that would compete with private insurance plans?”
Results: 72 percent of respondents favored the public option, including 87 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of independents, and 50 percent of Republicans.
Senator Chuck Grassley works overtime to snuff out a public option, urging President Obama to support a bipartisan bill in the Senate. But in the real world, a strong public option has bipartisan support. Even half of Republicans favor making a “government administered health insurance plan like Medicare” available to all Americans.
A public option would increase competition and give Americans more choices while driving down costs. A recent report found that one or two companies dominate the health insurance market in most parts of the country.
Obama will speak to ABC News about health care on Wednesday. I’ll be listening carefully to see whether he endorses a strong public option, which the House Democrats’ draft bill contains, or whether he remains open to a fake public option such as regional cooperatives or a “trigger”.
UPDATE: To be clear, the CBS/NYT poll is not an outlier. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week found, “Three in four people said a public [health insurance] plan is extremely or quite important.” A poll “bankrolled partly by previous opponents of health care reform” showed that “a majority (53%) strongly back the availability of a public plan, while another 30% ‘somewhat’ support it.”