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Clear majority now back public option: poll

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A “clear majority” of Americans now support a government-run public insurance plan as a competitor to private insurance companies, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll published Tuesday.

The findings show that public support for a public option is growing. Over the last two months, the public option’s support has risen from 52 to 57 percent, the poll says.

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“Overall, 45 percent of Americans favor the broad outlines of the proposals now moving in Congress, while 48 percent are opposed, about the same division that existed in August, at the height of angry town hall meetings over health-care reform,” the Post writes. “Seven in 10 Democrats back the plan, while almost nine in 10 Republicans oppose it.

Just 37% said they wanted a bipartisan plan without a public option. Independents favor a public option even if it doesn’t have support from congressional Republicans (none have backed a government-run insurance plan to date).

In the Senate, debate over the public option is fierce. The Senate Health and Labor Committee approved a version of the legislation which included a provision for a government insurance competitor, while the Senate Finance Committee did not.

Compromise options appear to be on the table. In one plan, the public option would serve as a fallback measure — the “trigger plan” — whereby if private insurers didn’t increase competition or lower prices by a certain amount, the government option would automatically kick in. Another plan would allow states to opt out of a government-run insurance plan.

In either case, most Americans wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the public option. Those with employer-provided healthcare would be ineligible; primarily the option would be focused on individuals who are forced to buy insurance on the open market.

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Health insurers are staunchly opposed, as are Republicans. Republican leaders say opening the door to the public option would eventually lead to government takeover of healthcare and drive private insurers out of business.

The poll also finds strong opposition to a Democratic plan to tax high-cost insurance plans: “Sixty-one percent oppose the idea, while 35 percent favor it.”

“Nearly seven in 10 say they think that any health-care measure would increase the federal budget deficit, a possible concern for Obama,” it also says. “But nearly half of those who see the legislation as growing the deficit also say the increase would be ‘worth it.'”

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On the private insurer front, UnitedHealth announced Tuesday that their profits for the third quarter had risen 13 percent over the previous year, despite a shrinking coverage pool caused by countrywide layoffs. UnitedHealth and Wellpoint, a Blue Cross servicer, dominate the private health insurance market.

More details on the poll are available here.

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Bishop falsely claims Joe Biden is not a Catholic — and it doesn’t go well for him

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On Tuesday, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island attacked former Vice President Joe Biden's faith, claiming that he is not really a Catholic.

Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) August 11, 2020

Biden is a lifelong, practicing Catholic, and he was also on the 2012 ticket, so Tobin's claim doesn't make any sense. But Tobin is an extreme right-wing firebrand with a history of politicizing the church — in 2007 he denied communion to former Rep. Patrick Kennedy for his pro-choice views, and in 2019 he called Gay Pride events "harmful for children" and demanded Catholics not attend them.

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2020 Election

Trump may end his campaign rallies out of fear of ’empty seats’ as coronavirus scares away his supporters: report

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The Trump campaign is struggling to modify their campaign strategy during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The Trump rally may be a thing of the past. At the least, the signature stew of tribal politics, showmanship, insults, outrage, humor and hero worship that propelled Donald Trump’s improbable victory four years ago and that has punctuated his presidency with the trappings of a perpetual campaign, is on a break," Anne Gearan reported for The Washington Post on Thursday.

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Trump campaign has no idea how to start going after Kamala Harris: report

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After Joe Biden announced he was picking Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for his running mate, President Donald Trump tried out a number of attacks at the day's press conference, calling her "nasty," "disrespectful," far-left, and dishonest, among other things.

But according to NBC News, the Trump campaign is struggling to formulate a consistent message that will hurt her.

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