As GOP regroups on healthcare, new poll questions its priority
The new House Republican majority may be about to do what President Barack Obama did a year ago — assign the top priority to healthcare at a time when Americans really really want action on the economy and jobs.
That’s what a new Gallup poll suggests. Pollsters found that a clear majority of U.S. adults (52 perecent) think it is “extremely important” for Congress and Obama to focus on the economy in the new year. Next in importance come unemployment (47 percent), the federal budget deficit (44 percent), and government corruption (44 percent).
Healthcare and education are tied at 40 percent. But when Gallup looked more broadly at what people said were either “extremely important” or “very important,” education edged ahead of healthcare.
That seems ironic. Republicans, fresh from their electoral sweep in November, have made a vote to repeal Obama’s healthcare reform their first act in the House because, they say, it’s what the People want. They say that knowing the move will likely be a dead letter, given Democratic opposition in the Senate and the threat of an Obama veto.
More ironic is that Gallup’s Jan. 7-9 survey produced results generally in line with what the polling organization found before the November election.
It’s not as if Republicans are listening only to Republican voters. The data show healthcare to be a higher priority for Democrats (who tend not to want it repealed) than for Republicans, who ranked it behind terrorism as well as the economic and fiscal issues as topics in need of action.
So who are Republicans in Congress listening to? Hard to tell.
House Republican are heading to a retreat in Baltimore this weekend. And unlike last year, when they invited Obama and the news media along, Politico reports that press access is being curbed and the president uninvited.
Reuters Photo Credits: Larry Downing (House Republicans); Mike Blake (Unemployment); Brian Snyder (Health Clinic)
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