When it comes to ObamaCare, poll after poll shows the public can be fairly supportive—until they realize how much they stand to personally lose. Americans have told pollsters for months about fears that their health coverage will disappear. They’re also reporting unprecedented concern that health reform will only add to the nation’s out-of-control federal deficits. And no matter how much the Administration says other people will pay for health reform (i.e., the rich), the American people know better.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff agrees. He told us at a health care press chat that Heritage regularly hosts: “In the broader context, there is heightened concern about general government and the page of government spending. And health care spending isn’t some huge abstract from those issues – it’s directly connected.”
Additionally, a new Gallup poll that just came out last Thursday found most Americans (49 percent) believe their families will pay even steeper health care costs if ObamaCare passes. Only 22 percent said their health care bill will get better, and 27 percent said it will likely be unchanged. So much for the Administration’s repeated claims that it will bend the cost curve downward. In the same poll, 39 percent fear the quality of the health care they receive will drop, while only 19 percent said it would improve.
McInturff and Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who also stopped by for Heritage’s chat but has a different view of how Americans perceive health reform, have been seeing these trends in health reform polls:
• Many people have the same belief they did during HillaryCare — they are largely satisfied with their own health care coverage but not with the U.S. health delivery system.
• People support paying less for health care services, as long as their health services don’t decline.
• A healthy number of people don’t understand the terminology or purpose for provisions like a public health insurance option.
But Americans know enough about ObamaCare to oppose what they’re hearing. For example, the requirement that all Americans must buy health insurance or pay a penalty (the individual mandate, which is part of all of the Democratic plans being considered in Congress) received 71 percent opposition in a new national poll commissioned by the Galen Institute.
Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, also got it right in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, when he noted much of this public resistance to the liberals’ health reform efforts comes from three serious violations of America’s core values: individual choice, personal responsibility and rewards for hard work.
The health care debate is part of a moral struggle currently being played out over the free enterprise system. It will be replayed in every major policy debate in coming months, from financial regulatory reform to a cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions.