Skip to main content

In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night, President Obama strongly reaffirmed his campaign and presidential promise to support "comprehensive" health reform.  "I will not walk away from these Americans.  And neither should the people in this chamber."  And he continued, "Here's what I ask of Congress, though:  Do not walk away from reform.  Not now.  Not when we are so close.  Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people."

One reason for this reaffirmation may be a more careful reading of the polls, indicating that, in fact, a majority of Americans do want reform. They just don't know what comprehensive reform means, do not understand what is actually in the bills that passed the Senate and the House, and have been led to believe a number of distortions of the proposed reforms.

A recent Kaiser Tracking Poll,  conducted after the Massachusetts special election, revealed that when asked if they supported the current reforms, the public was split on the general question: 41 percent said they did not and 42 percent said they did. However, when asked about specific elements of reform and whether or not if these elements were included in the reform packages they would be more likely to support reform, the public had a very different answer. About two-thirds supported 18 of the key elements in the reform legislation that has already passed the House or the Senate (see 8 of those elements below). So, when details were pointed out about what was actually in the reform legislation, more people supported reform than when they were simply asked a general question about support or opposition.

Most Popular Elements
Percent who say hearing the proposed legislation would do each of the following makes them MORE likely to support it:

Tax credits to small businesses - 73%
Health insurance exchange  - 67%
Won't change most people's existing arrangements  - 66 %
Guaranteed issue - 63%
Medicaid expansion - 62%
Extend dependent coverage through age 25 - 60%
Help close the Medicare doughnut hole - 60%
Public option - 53%

Note: Question wording abbreviated. Other than the public option response, only items with responses 60% and over shown here. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll(conducted January 7-12, 2010)

In another analysis of support for reform vs. awareness of it, only  a little over half of the respondents could estimate correctly if the element they liked was actually in the reform plans.

And a NBC poll in August, in the heat of the summer Town Halls,  found that approval for health reform went up significantly when people learned more about what was actually in the reform packages.

In the last few days, we have all been whiplashed by contradictory messages coming out of the House, the Senate, the White House, and cable news about the prospects for health reform. One minute health reform is dead.  The next it's on life support.  Some polls have declared that Americans do not want any health reform.  Other polls have declared exactly the opposite.   Thankfully, the President seems to have listened to more than the "top lines" of the polls but has dug deeper into what those responses really mean in terms of specifics.

If you believed that Americans had really done their homework, studied the bills in detail and come to the conclusion that they opposed the whole package, then there would be reason to listen to doom and gloom predictions.  But so few members of the public have done that homework on their own, as evidenced by the Kaiser poll, that the results of the polls seem misleading if not completely wrong.

It is clear that the President still believes that the only way to bring down the deficit is to bring down health care costs, so he was compelled to reaffirm his support for comprehensive reform (as against piecemeal insurance-only reform).  And since the House and the Senate have voted for these bills, it always seemed astonishing to me to think they would back down now as a result of one election and a few negative polls. If the objective situation with health care has not changed because of Massachusetts, the solutions should not change either.

We thought we elected leaders who would lead, not by poll numbers, but by what they believed was right.  While the House and the Senate have yet to show the extent of their mettle, at least the President has had the guts to do so.

Originally posted to Obamagrandma on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:04 PM PST.


Does Obama support comprehensive health reform?

12%9 votes
20%14 votes
24%17 votes
42%30 votes

| 70 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike, doinaheckuvanutjob, nokomis

    A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. Winston Churchill

    by Obamagrandma on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:04:41 PM PST

  •  Where's the "sort of"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, nokomis

    He did come out swinging.  

    "What is great in Man is that he is a bridge and not an end." - Friedrich Nietzsche

    by Troubadour on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:09:55 PM PST

  •  Are you kidding? He left an out you can drive a (5+ / 0-)

    truck through!  And farming it out to Congress is what ruined HCR in the first place.

    Meaningful HCR is dead.  Shame.

    •  his brave "solution"… (0+ / 0-)

      "As temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. …if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Here's what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people."

      That will force their hands, all right.

  •  Health Insurance reform (5+ / 0-)

    is on the back burner.  Again it is health insurance reform.  And he gave lip service, that is about it.

    •  He could have been even weaker (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, Kharafina

      He could have talked about going back to the drawing board; doing ONLY insurance reform. Did you read the Senate bill? It has a LOT more in it than just health insurance reform.

      A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. Winston Churchill

      by Obamagrandma on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:21:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is what I was afraid of... (0+ / 0-)

      That it wouldn't be good enough to spur congress into action...

      It's really all on Pelosi right now... If she can pull this off, she'll be a miracle worker!

      DARTH SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
      LANDO REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

      by LordMike on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:41:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  shorter Obama: "Get 'er done." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    No specifics, no calling out people, no mention of reconciliation. I think they expected us to clap like seals just because he said the words "health care", but there was no there there.

    "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin

    by CaptUnderpants on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:47:59 PM PST

    •  why should he have been specific? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChicDemago, LordMike

      What would he have gained? Everyone would have picked it all apart.  I think he will now tell Congress what he wants more specifically in the next few weeks.  It will all be evaluated on what happens in the end.

      A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. Winston Churchill

      by Obamagrandma on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 08:50:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well he did criticize congress, told 'em (0+ / 0-)

      not to go runnin' for the hills away from the problem but to get it done. That was something useful and positive.

      Now if he backs that up with muscle and action, great. If not, the complaining is merited to continue.

      The Great Recession is a happy happy joy joy time to drop your obsolete skills and train for new ones.

      by doinaheckuvanutjob on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 09:55:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I heard Obama make a strong case for getting HCR (0+ / 0-)

    done, though it took him awhile to get to it in this long speech.  Pelosi still working on tweeking strategies  and I believe she will find a way. I think senate can find the 51 votes needed for reconciliation, but process will be slow.

  •  You didn't mention the mandate (0+ / 0-)

    Support for that is rock bottom low, something like minus forty percent.

    Not all support is equal. The mandate is a poison pill that will crush the democratic youth base at the polls once it is enacted and Americans find that they are forced by the government to buy a product from a private company that doesn't work.

    You know we live in strange times when hearing something as simple as the truth almost seems shocking.

    by redhaze on Wed Jan 27, 2010 at 11:07:57 PM PST

    •  the mandate is universally disliked (0+ / 0-)

      from both the left and the right.  But I might point out that if you are employed now, and have insurance, you are being forced by your company (or if you are employed by public sector, by the government) to buy insurance from private companies already.  So how is this different? I guess just the idea that you have to do something is distasteful to people.  But very few people opt out of the employer insurance and go "bare" now. They pretty much have to enroll.

      A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject. Winston Churchill

      by Obamagrandma on Thu Jan 28, 2010 at 09:10:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site