Poll finds a majority for ‘public option’
Americans are still sharply divided over President Barack Obama’s vision of healthcare overhaul, but they’re starting to come around — again — on the so-called public option, so says a new Washington Post/ABC News poll published on Monday.
Fifty-seven percent of all Americans now favor a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers while 40 percent are opposed, according to the poll.
That’s up from 52 percent support in mid-August, but still down from 62 percent in June.
What’s happened since the congressional summer recess when anger over the prospect of a public option heated town hall meetings across the country?
The public option (a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers) is still favored by Obama and liberal Democrats as a way to increase competition and cut rising costs.
There’s still plenty of opposition from Republicans and other critics who argue that a public option would be a government takeover and could drive private insurance companies out of business.
In the Senate, lawmakers are trying to craft a single healthcare bill out of two separate proposals — one with the public option and one without. All three pending House bills include a public option.
Some numbers from the Washington Post/ABC poll:
– 57 percent of Americans now favor a public insurance option, 40 percent are opposed
– 56 percent favor a provision mandating all Americans to buy insurance
– 45 percent favor the broad outlines of the proposals now moving in Congress, 48 percent are opposed
– seven in 10 Democrats back the plan, almost nine in 10 Republicans oppose it
– 52 percent of Independents are against proposed reforms, 42 percent are in favor
Photo credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang; Reuters/Jonathan Ernst ( Pharmacist Sonya Safaie at work in Great Falls, Virginia; /Copy of House healthcare bill HR 3200 )