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What Do They Want?

CNN reports:

A new national poll suggests that a bare majority of Americans support President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning indicates that most people are worried that their health care costs would go up if the administration’s proposals are passed and only one in five think that their families would be better off under the Obama plan.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say they favor the president’s health care plan, with 45 percent opposed. . . . Fifty-four percent say their medical insurance costs will increase if the Obama plan becomes law, with 17 percent feeling their costs will decrease. Around one in four say their costs will remain the same. And only one in five say their family will be better off if the president’s plan becomes law, with 35 percent feeling they would be worse off, and 44 percent saying they would be about the same.

It isn’t clear why people support a plan (what plan is that by the way?) which will be more expensive and leave them “worse off,” but no one ever accused people of being entirely rational in their political beliefs. Perhaps if people were asked “are you in favor of spending more than a trillion dollars on a public option plan?” that 51% figure would come down. That is what the president is pushing, right? So far the public has not picked up on the president’s shift — from “guaranteeing” they will keep their existing insurance plan, to declaring he really can’t be responsible if private insurers are driven out of the market. Two-thirds of the public still believe they will be able to keep their existing plan.

What does all this mean? Opponents of the president’s plan might want to reinforce how expensive it is and how likely it is they won’t get to keep their plans. If the public is still listening, that might impact the debate and the outcome.



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