Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ObamaCare is Deeply Divisive, Poll Finds

The latest Washington Post poll finds the administration ObamaCare legislation dividing the country deeply, "Deep divisions linger on health care":
As the Senate prepares to take up legislation aimed at overhauling the nation's health-care system, President Obama and the Democrats are still struggling to win the battle for public opinion. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Americans deeply divided over the proposals under consideration and majorities predicting higher costs ahead.

But Republican opponents have done little better in rallying the public opposition to kill the reform effort. Americans continue to support key elements of the legislation, including a mandate that employers provide health insurance to their workers and access to a government-sponsored insurance plan for those people without insurance.

Over the past few months, public opinion has solidified, leaving Obama and the Democrats with the political challenge of enacting one of the most ambitious pieces of domestic legislation in decades in the face of a nation split over the wisdom of doing so. In the new poll, 48 percent say they support the proposed changes; 49 percent are opposed.

With the bill through the House, Senate Democrats are now looking for the votes to enact their version of the legislation and keep the reform effort moving forward. Whatever the outcome of the health-care debate, it will have a powerful influence in shaping the political climate for next year's midterm elections.

The House bill contains a highly controversial provision prohibiting abortion coverage for those insured under a new public insurance plan as well as those who received federal subsidies to purchase private insurance. In the poll, 61 percent say they support barring coverage for abortions for those receiving public subsidies, but if private funds were used to pay for abortion expenses, the numbers flipped. With segregated private money used to cover abortion procedures, 56 percent say insurance offered to those using government assistance should be able to include such coverage.

The new poll provides ammunition for both advocates and opponents of reform. For opponents, a clear area of public concern centers on cost -- 52 percent say an altered system would probably make their own care more expensive, and 56 percent see the overall cost of health care in the country going up as a result.

Few see clear benefits in exchange for higher expenses. Rather, there has been a small but significant increase in the number (now 37 percent) who anticipate their care deteriorating under a revamped system, putting that number in line with opinion in July 1994, just before President Bill Clinton's health-care reform efforts fizzled.

Among those with insurance, three times as many continue to see worse rather than better coverage options ahead (39 to 13 percent), and fewer than half of those who lack insurance see better options under a changed system. Six in 10 see it as "very" or "somewhat" likely that many private insurers would be forced out of business by a government-sponsored insurance plan, a potential result that GOP leaders frequently warn about.
As much as the Post tries to spin support for "key provisions" of the legislation, the bill is going to be politically costly to the Dems There's much great "intensity" of opinion among proponents, and political indedpents are too favorable:

Looking toward next year's midterm elections, 25 percent say they more apt to back a candidate who supports the proposed health-care changes; 29 percent are less likely to do so. More, 45 percent, say the vote will not make much of a difference. Independents are nearly twice as likely to be swayed away from rather than toward a candidate who supports the changes (31 percent to 17 percent).
More at Memeorandum.


Dave said...

The truly disheartening thing about this poll is that nearly half the people in America think it is acceptable to use the police powers of government to force the other half, literally at gun point, to pay for their health care.

That does not bode well for the future of our republic.

Neither does this: