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Posted by on Jul 29, 2009 in Health, Politics, Society | 48 comments

Recent Poll Shows 76% of Americans Want Public Option

The poll is from mid-June, and was discussed by Sam Stein at The Huffington Post:

New poll numbers from NBC/Wall Street Journal produce two major and potentially conflicting story lines when it comes to the Obama administration’s efforts for a health care overhaul. On the one hand, the American public overwhelmingly favors a choice between getting insurance coverage either through the private market or a government run option. Indeed, 76 percent of respondents said it was either “extremely” or “quite” important to “give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance.”

Another, contradictory, result from the same poll found only 33% specifically approved of Pres. Obama’s health care reform plan — but this may be at least partly because they did not know much about it:

In the same NBC/WSJ poll, only 33 percent of respondents said they thought the president’s health care plan, to the extent they knew of it, was a “good idea;” 32 percent said it was a bad idea.

In short: the administration has yet to complete the sale. An additional 30 percent of the public had no opinion of Obama’s proposal for reform. But when read a description of the general outline — requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, an employer mandate, tax credits for lower income families to buy coverage, and tax increases on wealthier Americans to pay for it – the number of respondents in support rose to 55 percent.

Jane Hamsher points to this poll, and to Mary Landrieu’s continued quest for a centrist option (Jane has a video there of Landrieu saying this, apparently — I couldn’t listen to it because I’m blogging from the library), and asks where this woman’s head is at:

Seventy-six percent of the country wants a public plan, Landrieu doesn’t.  Center of what — her own ego?

Democrats control the House, the White House, and the Senate — with a 60 vote majority. Yet they can’t find a way to do what 76% of the country wants in the midst of a health care crisis because they’re focused on making three rich Republicans happy.

What the hell is it going to take?