President Obama and his minions don’t generally devote much time to defending the specific provisions of the health care legislation now being proposed in Congress. Rather, they insist that the present health care system is intolerable and that “doing nothing is not an option.” In trying to enact a specific plan with clear (if not clearly expressed) policy implications, they are relying on the assumption that most voters find our current health care system unacceptable.
But that assumption doesn’t appear to be true. Today’s Rasmussen survey of likely voters finds, like many other polls, that a large majority of Americans are satisfied with their own health care. Significantly, it also finds a strong trend toward respondents expressing satisfaction with the current health care system:
Forty-eight percent (48%) of U.S. voters now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 19% rate it as poor.
These figures reflect a significant increase in support for the health care system over the past few months. In May, just 35% of adults nationwide rated the system as good or excellent. A year ago, just 29% of Likely Voters rated the system in such positive terms.
It’s easy to understand why Obama insists (falsely) that under the Democrats’ plan those who like their current insurance will be able to keep it: fully 80% of respondents with insurance rate their own insurance coverage good or excellent. That’s up from 70% in May. Even more important, 74% rate the medical care they receive as good or excellent. That’s about as strong a consensus as one ever finds in politics. Why on earth would we want to destroy a system that provides such great service to the American people?
Michael Barone argues that the prospect of losing their health insurance and their freedom of choice has concentrated the minds of voters and caused them to push back against the proposed government takeover of medicine. I think that’s right. It’s also evident that the voters aren’t buying the Democrats’ pretense that their trillion-dollar plan can be paid for by “the rich,” with everyone else sponging off those with higher incomes. A remarkable 78% think it’s likely that Obamacare will lead to higher taxes on the middle class.
The bottom line is that the Democrats are losing the health care debate, and losing it badly.