If a pollster asked me how I feel about the health reform proposals in congress, I would tell him that I am a 100 percent enthusiastic backer of these reforms, that I regard as the most awesomest reforms ever proposed by humankind. But that’s because I know how polls are reported in the press, not because that’s how I actually feel. If given the ability to answer a nuanced question, I would say that these are reforms that are worth doing but that don’t go nearly as far as I would like in changing the system. Now Nate Silver tells us about a poll that actually did offer some nuance, an Ipsos-McClatchy survey that let people say something about what they though was wrong with the bill:
One way to look at this: 43 percent of people favor health care reform, whereas 38 percent oppose it (20 percent are undecided). But the actual plan under consideration gets numbers that are more or less the reverse of that — 34 percent in favor, 46 percent opposed — because a significant number of people think the plan doesn’t go far enough.
This has always been my assumption, but it’s good to see some empirical conversation.
On the merits, I think it’s crucial to draw a distinction between a bill that doesn’t go as far as an ideal bill would go, and a bill that actually doesn’t go far enough to be worth doing. My view is that a bill that will provide a modicum of decent health insurance to millions of currently uninsured Americans, while also making some progress on various aspects of delivery reform and cost control is a bill that would be worth doing. But at the same time nothing that’s been on the table legislatively has gone remotely as far as ideal policy would in terms of either curbing the role of insurance companies or transforming the delivery of health care services.