A majority of Americans wanted a government health-insurance option to compete with big insurance. They wanted it before Obama became president, and they wanted it now. I'm sure your asking yourself: How could this be, since most recent polls also showed a majority of Americans opposing the current health care plans? The answer is simple, even if it's too mindboggling for the punditocracy. Some people told pollsters they oppose the current health care proposal because they don't go far enough.
Ipsos/McClatchy put out a health care poll two weeks ago. The topline results were nothing special: 34 percent favored "the health care reform proposals presently being discussed", versus 46 percent opposed, and 20 percent undecided. The negative-12 net score is roughly in line with the average of other polls, although the Ipsos poll shows a higher number of undecideds than most others.
Ipsos, however, did something that no other pollster has done. They asked the people who opposed the bill why they opposed it: because they are opposed to health care reform and thought the bill went too far? Or because they support health care reform but thought the bill didn't go far enough?
It turns out that a significant minority of about 25 percent of the people who opposed the plan -- or about 12 of the overall sample -- did so from the left; they thought the plan didn't go far enough.
Those fears are about to come to pass. Congress is all but certain to pass healthcare reform, and they are certain to pass a plan that does not go far enough. So was the whole ordeal worth it? Probably -- just preventing insurance companies from rejecting people with pre-existing conditions is one small step for mankind, and the bill contains other important reforms as well as cost-cutting -- that's right, cost-cutting -- that will make passing this a lot better than doing nothing. It's also probably a slight gain for Obama politically -- his list of non-achievements, including this new outrage involving Attytood fan favorite John Yoo, will be balanced by some...achievements, including healthcare reform, the stimulus package, an uptick in international relations, and moving in the right direction on climate change. Meanwhile, one of the world's richest nation's will still have an inferior health system ruled by greedy insurance companies -- just not quite as lousy as it was.
Progress, American style.