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Posted by on Mar 24, 2010 in Health, Politics | 19 comments

The Surging Popularity of Health-Care Reform

Given Republicans’ emphasis on public opinion lately, falsely claiming that a majority of the American people were against health-care reform (when they were really just against the bill as it wound its way in ugly fashion through Congress, and when much of the opposition to it was coming from the left, which didn’t think it went nearly far enough), I wonder what they’ll say about this new poll showing a significant bounce of support with additional support for more to be done:

More Americans now favor than oppose the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds — a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against the legislation.

By 49%-40%, those polled say it was “a good thing” rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms — as “enthusiastic” or “pleased” — while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as “disappointed” or “angry.”

The largest single group, 48%, calls the legislation “a good first step” that needs to be followed by more action. And 4% say the bill itself makes the most important changes needed in the nation’s health care system.

We’ll see if this is sustainable, but some of us proponents of reform have long been arguing that reform would turn out to be extremely popular once the ugliness of the legislative process was over (not that it’s quite over in the Senate yet) and once Americans learned in greater detail what exactly was in the bill — popular items like extending coverage to the uninsured, banning coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, lowering costs, and reducing the deficit over the long haul.

Is it premature to say we told you so?

(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)

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  • DLS

    At least Elrod wasn’t florid…

    • JSpencer

      At least Elrod wasn’t florid…

      Glass houses…

      • DLS

        “Glass houses”

        Lies fail.  [scowl]

        • JSpencer

          Apologies, “loquacious” or “verbose”? Yes. That said, Michael’s post hardly qualifies as florid. So do these qualify as “lies” or inaccuracies? 😉

          • DLS

            “I must have been thinking of loquacious.”

            A (kind, Generous with a capital G) understatement often on this site, admittedly.

            Mikey was florid again.  Current sentiment is against this legislation.  Any dimunition of that is no “surge.”

  • I think there are things in this health care bill that are attractive to all Americans. My conservative neighbor had to admit that the pre-existing condition waive for children warmed his heart since his sister has ran into that wall many times (she’s a Republican). So their may be an uptick for President Obama’s approval numbers. But this is seriously “wait and see” in my opinion.

    • DLS

      There are true reform elements in there, Mr. T. We just have to wait and see, indeed, what the details are (it wasn’t just haphazard legislation, shrunken down from what was originally sought months earlier, but also, the final details also were kept from us, in part because the writers didn’t know what the end result would be, in part because informing us was the least important objective, as we all noticed).

      We’ll just have to wait and see, indeed. This is only a first step, anyway; everyone knows there will be more changes, and no, it won’t take a generation before anything more happens. The premium or rate increases will see to that.

  • Guest

    Given the fact that Americans are well practiced today at accepting and eating all kinds of S*** from both parties, none of this is surprising. And this is not “reform”. Good luck America, you will need it!

  • SteveCan

    Be interesting to see what happens to the “bounce” when the details start to rear their ugly heads …

  • JSpencer

    As for those poll numbers, if the popularity of HCR continues to rise, especially as it is tweaked and ironed out, then republicans will probably feel they can’t forget about the part they played in it fast enough.

  • archangel

    pull back please commenters. Stay with the topic of the post. Dont attack the writers or each other. Seriously. This gets old. Really old. And others care to read ideas and opinions not personal attacks on writers and commenters.


  • WagglebutII

    The majority of American people have been for health care reform all along. The obfuscation by the far right and the absence of leadership among the republicans in Washington denied the repbulican centrist an opportunity to affirm the positives of the legislation. Of course the cry “we want health care reform but not this health care reform” was a ruse. The right wingnuts would have plastered viciously any centrist republican that engaged a civil discussion on HCR. I am glad to see the restabilization of public opinion on HCR. It’s probably too much to hope for, but if a centrist republican wants to become a leader now is the time to speak up rationally and lead the parade. Eventually they will be rewarded with a great amount of respect. Particularly those of us that are centrist right. I like what the post says and I hope the normalization of public opinion is sustainable.

  • chipsilicon

    I think folks would be well advised not to put a lot of stock in any particular poll on this issue for some time.

    “A CBS News poll released Wednesday finds that nearly two in three Americans want Republicans in Congress to continue to challenge parts of the health care reform bill.”

  • DavePaulson

    Personally, I trust the poll. Of course, that’s probably because I’m one of those folk who would have voiced my distaste for the bill based on both the watering down and the political process. But ask me now, and I’m glad it passed. I’m with Dennis Kucinich — you hold out trying to get what you want, but if you can’t get the support, you take what you can get.

  • Leonidas

    Add the new Bloomberg poll to the discussion

    Americans Remain Skeptical Over Health-Care Revamp

    At the same time, most say the government should play a role in ensuring everyone has access to affordable care, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. A majority also agree that health care is a private matter and consider the new rules approved by Congress to be a government takeover. …

    While more than six of 10 respondents agree the government should play a role in ensuring Americans have health care, 53 percent say the plan amounts to a government-run system. Yet six of 10 also say individuals should be responsible for making sure their health-care needs are met.

    Also this one from CBS

    Poll: Most Want GOP to Keep Fighting on Health Bill

    The poll finds that 62 percent want Congressional Republicans to keep challenging the bill, while 33 percent say they should not do so. Nearly nine in ten Republicans and two in three independents want the GOP to keep challenging. Even 41 percent of Democrats support continued challenges.

    For the new poll, CBS News re-interviewed 649 adults interviewed just before the House vote in a CBS News poll conducted March 18-21. The findings suggest an improvement in perceptions of the legislation: While 37 percent approved of it before the vote, 42 percent approved afterward.

    Still, there was significant disapproval for the bill. Forty-six percent say they disapprove, including 32 percent who strongly disapprove. Those numbers have barely moved since before the bill was signed.


    About one in two Americans say Mr. Obama has kept a campaign promise in getting the legislation passed. Forty-three percent, including three in four Republicans and a slim majority of independents, say he has forced through an unpopular agenda.

  • DLS

    This continues to be unpopular legislation.

    As we learn more (aside from the federal takeover of student loans and other things that had no business being done as part of health care “reform”), people may like it — or at least come to accept it. But so far, it’s not popular legislation. And it’s telling that we have to wait to learn about it, because the details were either kept secret from us or unknown until the very last moment because this was one large scramble.

  • Leonidas

    And yet another poll.

    Quinnipiac: Health-Care Passage Moves Obama’s Approval From 46 . . . to 45.

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