Monday, September 14, 2009

Polls show support for public option from doctors and citizens alike

I recently published a blog post on how many Wisconsin doctors supported the idea of the public option in the health care debate. 65 percent of doctors in the state thought that a national insurance plan was a good idea.

But how would that number fare nationally?

It turns out, you'd see similar numbers. According to a national survey of doctors, nearly 63 percent of primary care physicians supported a system of health care with both public and private insurance available -- similar to the plan President Obama and Democrats in Congress are proposing.

That number stays constant across the nation, too: in every region of the nation, support for a dual system of both public and private plans available to the people had support of doctors, ranging from a high of 69.7 percent in the Northeast, to a low of 58.9 percent in the South.

Again, we see support for a public option plan from doctors. But the people of America, too, want to see such a plan!

An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 55 percent of Americans support a public option, with only 42 percent opposing such a plan.

So why do we see politicians backing down from a public plan? The conservative smear-job and drumming up of vocal town hall demonstrators has scared lawmakers into thinking that support for a health care reform bill with the public option included will cause a backlash so severe that they'll lose their seats in office come 2010.

I, however, disagree with that view; if Democrats can win this debate, with a public option intact, they will remain as popular as ever -- they will have delivered what they had promised and will give millions of Americans the health care they so desperately need.

If they drop the public option, however, even with some reforms in a final bill, they will still be despised by the hard-line conservatives they fear; but they will also lose respect from progressives that helped get them elected in the first place. And in my opinion, it's harder to get reelected with a dissatisfied base.

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