Support of a Public Health Insurance Option Gains Momentum
October 22, 2009 - 3:37pm ET
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Most Americans have now turned a blind eye to the right-wing’s scare tactics and specious arguments in August town hall meetings. Americans are finally seeing through the outrageous propaganda that the GOP’s base has been using in protests and various media outlets.
In recent polls conducted by CBS news, SurveyUSA, and the Washington Post, a solid support for a public health insurance option is clearly indicated and on the rise.
In mid-August and during the midst of these heated town hall meetings, a slim majority, 52 percent, said they favored a public insurance option. Now 57 percent of all Americans favor such an option. Likewise, in a recent CBS poll, where Americans were surveyed regarding a government health insurance option, a vast majority (nearly two-thirds at 62%) favored the public option.
According to a Washington Post Poll, 51 percent of Americans would prefer a plan that included some form of government insurance for people who cannot get affordable private coverage even if it had no GOP support in Congress. Meanwhile, only 37 percent would rather have a bipartisan plan that did not contain a public option. Independents prefer a bill that includes a public option but does not have Republican support, by 52 percent to 35 percent.
Even more telling regarding the debate on health care reform….
If a public plan were run by the states and available only to those who lack affordable private options, support for it leaps to 76 percent. With those conditions, even a majority of Republicans at 56 percent would be in favor of it!
But will Congress listen to the American people that they have been elected to represent or will they only continue their incessant, puerile bi-partisan bickering?
Notably, another poll conducted by SurveyUSA, signified that the wording utilized in these polls, especially regarding the phrase “choice of a public health insurance option” largely influenced the respondents viewpoints. To illustrate, when this specific phrasing was used in a study by SurveyUSA, support for a public option rose to a strong 77 percent.
On the contrary, when pollsters for NBC took out the word "choice" from their question regarding a public option, they found that only 43 percent of the public were in favor of "creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies.”
This phenomenon may be attributable to the fact that many Americans seem to oppose universal health care, meaning a COMPLETE takeover of the health care system by the government, but would be in favor of a public insurance OPTION.
Therefore, what needs to be made lucid to the American people is that Congress is considering a public health insurance option to create greater competition within the health insurance industry. This plan would attempt to hold the private insurance companies more accountable for their unethical actions.
A public option would also save countless American lives by giving them greater access to quality, affordable health care.
In order to further increase understanding and in turn support among the American people, Congress is currently considering renaming the public option Medicare Part E (Medicare for Everyone).
Many Americans may now favor a public option since during such trying economic times they are starting to realize that no one’s health insurance is truly secure. They can be laid off from their jobs at any time and consequently loose their health insurance plans. Even those Americans who have health insurance are not safe from the unconscionable actions of private insurers.
A cogent example of the consequences of the current U.S. health care system was recently conveyed across various media outlets. After being laid off from a job he worked at for 20 years, Bill Caudle, 39, enlisted in the Army so he could get health insurance to help pay for his wife's ovarian cancer treatment. After losing his job, the Caudle’s insurance cost them $1,370 per month! Under these circumstances, Bill Caudle really had no choice but to risk his life to save his wife. This should not be occurring in a “civilized” nation!
Individual’s basic human right to life is constantly being infringed upon under such a senseless health care system.
ONLY a public option will be able to protect Americans from the capricious whims of the insurance companies and a majority has reached this realization.
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Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future