Last night on Fox News, host Bill O’Reilly and analyst Brit Hume discussed the prospects for the Senate passing a health care reform bill. After struggling with the terminology for the “public option,” O’Reilly ultimately concluded that “all the polls say” that “the folks don’t want it.”
O’REILLY: They call it, you know, the public sector. What is the —
HUME: Public option, you mean?
O’REILLY: Public option, whatever. The folks don’t want it. … But it looks to me like they have maybe 55 votes to pass it. And that means they could be filibustered and never come up for a vote.
HUME: That’s what it looks like right now. The public option, actually some polls show that the public option standing by itself is not at all unpopular, but it is kind of popular. But that depends on how the poll question is raised. … We don’t need to go into all that right now.
Those trying to derail reform with a public option try to claim that Americans don’t support it. “All the polls now indicate substantial opposition to this particular type of health care reform,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said last night on Fox. But Hume is right. Americans do support the public option, as recent polling shows:
— CNN/Opinion Research, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1: 55 percent support “creating a public health insurance option administered by the federal government that would compete with plans offered by private health insurance companies.”
— Ipsos/McClatchy, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1: 51 percent support the “creation of a public entity to directly compete with existing health insurance companies.”
Other recent polls, such as USA Today/Gallup and Washington Post/ABC News, have found majority support for the public option — results that are consistent with other polling on this question throughout the health care debate this year.
Indeed, large majorities in Connecticut support the public option but Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the state’s junior independent senator, has repeatedly said he will filibuster any bill that contains a public option. Like Hume, Lieberman doesn’t want to talk about polling support for the public option either, reportedly saying that poll respondents are simply “confused.”