There is one sure way to defeat health-care bills now before Congress: information. The more the public learns, the less they want the current versions of reform. The sticking point is what it will cost each of us. Congress and the administration may present these bills as ways to save money. But they aren’t. They won’t be deficit neutral for the country—and they won’t be deficit neutral for you.
The Wall Street Journal has a good piece on how support for these reforms drop as the public realizes the costs. They rely on a paper in the policy journal Health Affairs:
Our paper was based on a survey that asked 3,344 U.S. adults how much they would be willing to pay in increased taxes to subsidize health insurance for low- and moderate-income Americans. In the survey we calculated the likely costs of several realistic health-care reforms and asked each respondent his or her family income. Then, we calculated how much each respondent’s income taxes would increase to pay for the reforms. We did this under the assumption that everyone’s taxes would increase by the same percentage amount.
Only 40.8% of Americans said they would be somewhat or very likely to support a policy similar to those being considered by Congress—a subsidy for private insurance that would reduce the number of uninsured by one-half. More modest proposals (such as expanding Medicaid) that would reduce the number of uninsured by one-quarter received slightly greater support, but still less than a majority.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, apparently unimpressed by public opinion, has nevertheless said that she has the votes to pass a “robust” public option. She may be wrong. Prudence is what Blue Dog Democrats are also counseling.