Health Insurance Watch: Good News, Bad News
By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson
Over at the Blog For Rural America, Steph Larsen has a good news, bad news post about the public health insurance option currently under consideration in Congress. Here’s the good news:
There’s nothing the media loves more than a good horse race. A little controversy – or a lot of it – sparks readers’ interest and drives up sales. In the absence of actual controversy, though, the media sometimes has to invent some.
The debate over health care reform is a great example.
72% of Americans support a public health insurance option that competes with private insurers, according to a recent poll done by New York Times/CBS News. The poll was taken in mid-June and showed that people of all political stripes support health reform that, in the words of President Obama, “keep[s] insurance companies honest.” Almost half of people identifying as Republicans supported the idea of a public health insurance option, as well as over 70% of independents and nearly 90% of Democrats.
Another recent survey of small business owners in Nebraska and Iowa found strikingly similar numbers. Done by the Small Business Majority, 69% of Iowa small business owners and 70% of Nebraska small business owners support the choice of a private or public health insurance plan.
I would hardly call this controversy.
It appears that the Democratic leadership in the Senate, where it’s likely much of this debate will take place, is beginning to think that those numbers don’t really constitute much controversy either. In an article from the newspaper Roll Call, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) that he should stop trying to put forward a bill that doesn’t include a public health insurance option or that taxes health benefits, because doing so could lose the votes of 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.
So why, then, is there the appearance of controversy?
Find out here, then pick up your phone. The life you save may be your own.