Friday, December 19, 2014

NYT/CBS Poll: Americans Support a Public Option

Over the past two years, the New York Times has been running a great series of articles on the outrageous cost of health care in the US, Paying Til It Hurts. If you haven't already read them, you should.

The NYT decided to complement its reporting with a survey about how Americans interact with the costs of the health care system.

The following two questions were of most interest to me:

(1) Would you favor or oppose a government-administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private health insurance plans?

(2) Would you favor or oppose a single-payer health care system, in which all Americans would get their health insurance from one government plan that is financed by taxes?

Here were the results:

As you can see, a solid majority of Americans supported a public option for health insurance, which Democrats cravenly tossed aside during the health care debate.

Although I would have liked to have seen majority support for single payer as well, 43% is still a solid basis of support on which to build, and it likely includes a majority of self-identified Democrats and perhaps even a majority or plurality of Independents. I would be very interested to see the partisan breakdown on these questions.

Governor Pete Shumlin of Vermont unfortunately is giving up on the state's plan for a single payer system, but as this poll shows, there is a real desire among the public for such a system that would combine true universality, quality, and efficiency.

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