New poll shows massive support for real public option (updated)

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.”

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  • Dems better not cave...

    …Because if they do, this could be, if you’ll pardon the sports metaphor, the 1994 baseball strike all over for me, meaning I may never vote Dem again — or at least take a 13 year hiatus before returning to he game — at least on the sidelines anyway.

    As my partner says, weakness must be crushed. Speaking of which (weakness, not Karen), it appears Tom Daschle has gone on the record saying he supports dropping the public support option if that is what it takes to get the bill passed. Thank Uncle Sam he never made it into Obama’s cabinet.

    • Daschle backpedaled somewhat

      on that statement (saying he really is for a public option), but I don’t like whatever game he’s playing. We are definitely better off without him in the cabinet.

      On the one hand, Democrats would be monumentally stupid not to seize the chance to pass a strong public option, given what polls are showing.

      On the other hand, when you see how much money the insurance and pharmaceutical industries have spent to buy influence in Congress, it’s a miracle we even have a shot at getting this bill through.

      • Enter: Campaign Finance Reform

        Stage Left…

        That’s another point that chaps my hide, my private insurer Hellmark (I’m in the process of finding a new carrier by the way) spending a chunk of my premium money on lobbyists when it could be used to drive down my premium costs.

        With full control of both houses and the White house, I’m not going to let the Dems off the hook for this one.

        Grow a spine and do what’s morally right and do what you were elected to do — or don’t let the door hit you on the way out…

        Stage Right…  

        • I saw that Wellmark

          was in the news this week:

          Iowa’s dominant health insurance company has nearly doubled the pay of its leader in the past five years, to $2.5 million in 2008.

          Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield board members say John Forsyth’s compensation is justified by the company’s growth and service improvements under his leadership as president and chief executive officer.

          But critics say Forsyth’s pay is an example of the waste they see in America’s private health insurance system. […]

          Wellmark dominates the Iowa health insurance market, providing or administering policies to 51 percent of people who have private coverage here, according to the state insurance division. That’s more than six times the market share of the next largest competitor in Iowa. However, the competitors include much larger, national companies, whose top executives make more than Wellmark’s leader.

          • Hellmark

            I read this earlier…

            Not only is Wellmark/Blue Cross Blue Shield one of the largest financed lobby contingents in D.C. trying to squash any public option, but they’ve effectively priced me out of the market. My premiums have shot up 50% in the last two years, with no major medical catastrophe for myself and/or 3 sons. And these rate increases is even more than Forsyth’s doubled salary/bonuses.

            Ironically, he earned the bonuses for bringing in so many new members, which you would think would bring down the rest of rates, but is spent feeding the Fat Cats. If not, where did all the money go…?