Americans Overwhelmingly Support Comprehensive Health Care Reform

obamahealthsummit3.jpgAs President Barack Obama prepares to outline his vision for comprehensive health care reform in tonight’s national address, several new polls suggest that the Americans strongly support the Obama’s intention to turn the page to reforming the health care system:

– Besides the economy, health care is the domestic policy area Americans want Obama and Congress to concentrate on most. [NYT/CBS News Poll, (2/18-2/22)]:

72 percent favor “a program that would increase the federal government’s influence over the country’s health care system in an attempt to lower costs and provide health care coverage to more Americans. [CNN/Opinion Research Corp Poll, (2/18-2/19)]

66 percent of Americans that it is “the responsibility of the federal government” to “make sure all Americans have health care.” [Fox News/Opinion Dynamics, (2/17-2/18)]

But the problem is not in convincing the American people that we need reform; they’ve heard that message in 1993 and they agreed with it then. The real goal for Obama is to mobilize the public support into action for change. It’s about getting all the troops behind a proposal that lowers costs and expands coverage.

During yesterday’s fiscal summit, Obama said that he intends to educate the public about the need for health care reform by hosting a summit on health care next week:

Everybody here understands a lot of the trade offs involved in health care and that there are no perfect solutions. But in the sound bite political culture we have got, it is hard to communicate that. We think that it’s very important to have some forums….that there’s a process that the public an listen to about what these trade offs are.

Indeed, Obama can use the presidential bully pulpit to lay out the case for reform and demonstrate that he’s really serious about reforming the system. Tonight and then again on Thursday, when the administration lays out its budget priorities, he’ll have that opportunity.