Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

People support Obama's health plan -- when they know what it is

People support Obama's health plan -- when they know what it is

 

This is fascinating. Americans strongly support President Obama's health care plan. It's just that they strongly oppose "President Obama's health care plan." Check this out:

As Congress works on its legislation and as Obama campaigns to get an overhaul enacted, 42 percent now say that the president’s plan is a bad idea, which is a 10-point increase since last month. Thirty-six percent say it’s a good idea.

So normally there would be a simple explanation for something like this; for example, Americans generally liked the idea of health reform but didn't like the specifics once they learned of all the details of the plan, But that is not what happened. In fact, the opposite:

Also, when read the specifics of his goals for health care — like requiring insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, providing low-income families with subsidies to help them afford insurance, and raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for the subsidies — 56 percent say they support Obama’s plan. Only 38 percent oppose.

So....how does this happen? That's not a rhetorical question -- I'm dead serious. According to this poll, roughly one out of every seven Americans likes the main parts of Obama's health plan but then tells a pollster that he or she opposes Obama's health plan. Why?

It's probably a mix of things -- a combination of business and GOP interests are spending millions to portray the plan solely as "a government takeover," and Obama's only done a so-so job of using his bully pulpit as president to counteract that. I think a lot of the media coverage -- especially TV which is where a majority of Americans continue to get their news -- is poor, and influenced heavily by the biases of journalists who have gold-plated insurance plans and, in the case of anchors, would be taxed, unlike most of their viewers.

But knowing all that, I still don't understand the gap, except that a lot of opposition is driven by fear of the unknown, not liking the health care we have but too numb to change it. FDR was right when he said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- and health care reform is the perfect example of why.

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Will Bunch
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