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October 19, 2003

Poll: 62% Want Govt Health Insurance

Many years ago when Clinton's health plan was defeated, I predicted that would be a pyrrhic victory for conservatives. Clinton's plan would have preserved most elements of the present employer-based private health care system, just extending it to most of the population.

But another decade has allowed the problems of that system to fester to the point that the public is ready to reject the whole private health insurance system.

Check out this poll:

By almost a 2-1 margin in this poll, 62 percent to 32 percent, Americans said they preferred a universal system that would provide coverage to everyone under a government program, as opposed to the current employer-based system.
The support of course drops if people are told that would require a limited choice of doctors or longer waits-- but since that's what most have with their own HMOs, the question is more limited and longer waits compared to what?

And as with most polls, don't take the absolute numbers too seriously, since they shift with different wording, but look at the trend line. And when the same question was asked a year ago, less than half were in favor of the government-run health insurance system.

Conservatives Like Universal Health Care: But here's an even scarier number for conservatives:

Eight in 10 in the poll said it is more important to provide health care coverage for all Americans even if it means higher taxes, than to hold down taxes but leave some people uncovered.
You sometimes see conservatives pointing to polls showing that only 19% of Americans call themselves "liberals" while 36% identify as conservatives.

Yet if 80% want higher taxes to pay for universal health care, then that means that almost half of conservatives believe in universal health care.

Which sure isn't what media conservatives want Americans to mean when they say they are "conservative." It just shows how useless those terms can be, given that vast majorities of Americans support economically liberal ideas like universal health care and raising the minimum wage.

Posted by Nathan at October 19, 2003 09:41 PM