Polls & Health Care Reform
Yesterday, according to this report in The New York Times, the Senate Finance Committee, which has panel with gate-keeping power over reform proposals, voted against including a 'public option' in the bill. Such an option would constitute a very tepid commitment to public responsibility for insuring access to health care for all citizens. The Republicans on the committee were, as is predictable, solidly opposed and were abetted by a handful of Democrats.
This is disturbing because, as The Times reported last week, a New York Times/CBS poll suggests that two-thirds of Americans support just the sort of public option that the good Senators simply cannot bring themselves to include in their bill. This, despite the fact, that many of the respondents are unclear about much else in the health care debate.
An even newer poll commissioned by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health was released yesterday. It suggests that nearly three-quarters of respondents feel that the Congress is not listening to the public ("people like you") as the formulate health care legislation. If we compare the results of the Senate Finance Committee recommendations with the Times/CBS poll from last week, it seems that the respondents to this most recent poll are pretty much right on the money.