Polls on Health Care Reform – Why we can't give voters what they want

Byron York has a great piece up in the Washington Examiner on yesterday’s health care summit, in which he tries to account for the seeming contradiction between polls about individual aspects of health insurance legislation compared to polls about the whole wad now stumbling through congress. He writes:

Just look at the latest survey from CNN and Opinion Research. When asked if they support “preventing health insurance companies from dropping coverage for people who become seriously ill,” 62 percent say yes. When asked whether they support “requiring all large and midsized businesses to provide health insurance for their employees,” 72 percent say yes. And when asked if they support “preventing health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions,” 58 percent say yes.

On the other hand, asked what Congress should do on health care — pass the current bill, start work on an entirely new bill, or stop working on the issue altogether — a huge majority opposes the Democratic proposal now on the table. Just 25 percent of those surveyed want to see the bill passed. Forty-eight percent want Congress to start over, and 25 percent want lawmakers to stop working on health care altogether. Put those last two together, and an overwhelming majority of 73 percent do not want Congress to pass the current bill.
(my bolding above)

He attributes the failure of the whole bill to its size.

Few Democrats can accept the possibility that voters are telling them their whole approach is wrong. Big, comprehensive legislative proposals just make people nervous.

I have a simpler explanation: People want things until they find out how much it costs. Everyone wants better health insurance, but no one wants to pay more for it. I want a new car. I don’t particularly want to pay for it. It is the same with health insurance. When you total up the cost of all these things people say they want, it’s a lot of money. Instead of the questions polling firms now ask, they might as well ask who wants a bucket of money handed out to them every week, no strings attached, no need to pay it back. I bet they could poll higher than 72% on that question. So what?

I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.
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