The First Draft: Is the US healthcare debate making Americans feel better?
The healthcare reform debate brewing in the U.S. Senate may cause dyspepsia for some special interests.
But the mere prospect of reform could be making the American public feel better already — about health coverage, at least. That’s according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a nonpartisan philanthropic organization devoted to health and healthcare issues.
The foundation’s consumer confidence index for healthcare climbed to a new high of 104.4 points in October, as the debate gathered pace in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Why? There was a big jump in people’s confidence about future access to care and coverage. Fewer worried about losing their insurance and concerns about future affordability dropped, too.
“During a month when there was considerable momentum around health reform, including the passage of a reform bill by the Senate Finance Committee, the American public appears to be more confident about the future,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation president and CEO, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said.
“Americans of every ideology know that our health care system needs to be fixed and want some type of reform,” she added.
That last remark — “some type of reform” — could prove prophetic.
Republicans seem to think reform is a terrible idea and appear to be in lock-step opposition to it.
That leaves it to Democrats and allied independents to forge a filibuster-proof, 60-vote majority to push legislation through. Despite sharp differences within their already frayed coalition, Democratic leaders appear to be betting that the whole bunch, in the end, will opt for “some type of reform” rather than returning home empty handed for the holidays.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (U.S. Capitol)