Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

A new survey commissioned by the AARP conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates asks respondents to what degree they support or oppose "[s]tarting a new federal health insurance plan that individuals could  purchase if they can't afford private plans offered to them" -- a public option, in other words. The results are interesting, though not necessarily surprising to those who have been closely following the debate.

All: 79 percent favor/18 percent oppose
Democrats: 89 percent favor/8 percent oppose
Republicans: 61 percent favor/33 percent oppose
Independents: 80 percent favor/16 percent oppose

Not only does a public option enjoy strong support (37 percent strongly support such a choice), it enjoys broad support -- a finding based not only in this new survey but also in SurveyUSA polling released last week. Indeed, a supermajority of even Republicans supports a federal program to provide individuals with a choice for their health insurance coverage, with just a third of the party membership opposing such a plan.

So why, again, are supporters of a public option finding such difficulty in Congress?

Tags: aarp, Public Option (all tags)



Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

As for the last question, you must know the answer.

Nate Silver had an interesting write-up of the polling on the 'public option': in order for a poll to accurately measure it's support, the pollster has to make clear that: 1) it's government run ("public" is too vague) 2) it's an insurance plan, not government doctors or anything like that, 3) it would be a choice, and 4)it cannot be compared to medicare, since it's not entirely comparable, at least in most of the legislation, and using the word 'medicare' tends to inflate the numbers.

So the AARP poll passes the test for the most part.  But I'm curious about the "those who cannot afford private plans" part.  Is that just inexact phrasing, or is anyone thinking of means testing the public option, i.e, making it federal medicaid?

by Jess81 2009-08-26 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

I think a lot of people see the public option as "Second class" insurance, like medicaid... which is part of the reason why people resist the phony "government takeover of healthcare" idea...

by LordMike 2009-08-26 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

If things go right I'm going to be an attorney, I hope I can still get on the public plan.

by MNPundit 2009-08-26 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

Oh, me too... The public plan will be superior in every way to any private plan...  Anyone who has dealt with health care knows this!

by LordMike 2009-08-26 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

I wonder if it would put the debate over the top if Barack Obama and a few other congresscritters make a pledge to enroll in the public option once it is created.  Talk about political theatrics.

by the mollusk 2009-08-26 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option
I like this idea a lot. In fact I think it might be a good idea to spread the rumour that a lot of senators and reps will. It would be disingenuous for the President to do it though. He has a medical team within walking distance at all times, a Doctor within feet at all times, a helicopter evac on standby always. he could promise to use it once he left office. But congress could, and should.
by commentist 2009-08-26 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

It's more than political theatrics... If congressmen are enrolled, it would guarantee the strength of the program, 'cos no congressman would cut off his nose to spite his face...

Obama has already said that he'd put his family on the public plan if enacted...

by LordMike 2009-08-26 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

He should say it again, and louder.

by Jess81 2009-08-26 09:37PM | 0 recs
Sorry, but...

...the inclusion of "that individuals could purchase if they can't afford private plans" is a push to a favorable response. It's a positive rationale that's hard to disagree with. Had the poll asked about a federal health insurance plan that "would have government bureaucrats managing health care payments" we'd clearly see that as a push to a negative response.

Also. "Federal" health insurance plan is not quite the same as "government run."  While they technically mean the same thing, lower information respondents may not clearly understand that.

by Steve in Sacto 2009-08-26 12:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry, but...

They're both accurate.  Federal is more exact.

I'll go along with your rationale on "individulas could purchase if they can't afford private plans".  A simple "individulas could purchase if they choose" would have been both more neutral and more accurate.  The results of these polls is in fact higher than others on the subject, but not by much - it's never polled lower than 60% in favor, and is usually closer to 70.

by Jess81 2009-08-26 03:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Sorry, but...

What the efff are you talking about? What on earth is this:"government bureaucrats managing health care payments" are you a red starer? yes it would niot be a push poll if it asked: would you aloow hateful balck people to decide when you mother died?" Yes that would be fair.

It isnt government run... umm "sir" its merely paid for, and if you dont want it, dont buy it! That s so easy eh?

Lower information? This [post of yours] is obfuscation, clearly bafflegab.

The poll is clear and completely represents the situation on the ground.

Only one thing is not clear, and that is why are you trying to muddy the waters?

by commentist 2009-08-26 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

So why, again, are supporters of a public option finding such difficulty in Congress?

Bucauus[sic!] you know who is bought and paid for along with Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson. I am only naming the worst of the worsts.

by gammarock68 2009-08-26 12:22PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

The polls can't actually measure support for a public plan...I thought the 30-40 point swing depending on the phrasing of the question makes that pretty clear.  The polls indicate low information, not firm attachment to any particular set of plan characteristics.  The difference between suggesting a public plan would "compete with private insurers" and give people a plan to choose "if they couldn't afford" one from a private insurer is pretty slim.

by Jonc 2009-08-26 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

Americans are optimistic about reform, but they are uneasy about private insurance not being able to competete with the public issurance. The early polling about Health care reform was more reflecting anxiety more than discontent.

At anyrate, the GOP are just bluffing, they are using this to gain advantage in the midterm elections and using it at a wedge issue.

The Barack plan is almost the same plan or similar to the plan that Mitt Romney passed in MA and I'm sure if he was president, than McCain he would of used it as well.

by olawakandi 2009-08-26 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

This is completely false, with no link to relaity.

The plan, as demanded by the progressive caucus, and described by Obama (demand it Obama, starting now) is for an end to pre-existing illness being a reason to kick you off your insurance plan, private insurance and public option both; an end to the cutting off services and coverage, because its over some limit, private and public option both; a limit to how much you are billed every year, to prevent bankruptcies, private plans and public option both.

The public option is another insurance plan, to compete with private plans, to keep them honest, and to drive prices down.

The Romney plan is none of this, and it sucks, and the Plan that will pass congress this year, The Edward M Kennedy American National Health Act 2009, will NOT suck.

by commentist 2009-08-26 05:52PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

I was referring to the Co opts plan not the public options plan.

by olawakandi 2009-09-02 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

Is there a link to this data? A link to the poll?


by commentist 2009-08-26 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: AARP Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

Why in the world would I or anyone be "worried" about whether or not the private insurance companys can compete effectively with a public plan? Why is it the job of our govt. to do that? This reform is supposed to be for the good of the people, not to assure the profiteers that they can keep on abusing us with no end in site.

by Shazta 2009-08-27 03:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Poll: 8 in 10 Back Public Option

The rightwing nutjobs have a bunch of arguments against the public option, but most are nonsensical or misinformed.

I think the legitimate concern with the "public option" is that it will undercut private insurers, not by greater efficiency or ability to negotiate better economic terms from providers and drug companies, but instead by using taxpayer subsidies to charge prices that don't reflect the true cost.

If a public option can beat private insurers at their own game, then great, but if the only way it can compete is by operating at a loss, then I can at least understand the argument.

by alhill 2009-08-27 08:07AM | 0 recs

You have changed the origin of the study, and still left out the LINK!!

Coulkd you please provide a link

by commentist 2009-08-27 08:14AM | 0 recs


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