Public Overwhelmingly Supports Public Plan
At least according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, the results of which were released over the weekend. From The Times:
The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.
Republicans have almost universally been attacking the Democrats’ public plan proposal, arguing that it would have unfair advantages over private insurance plans, encroaching upon (and eventually eliminating) the private marketplace. Those sentiments were encapsulated Sunday by syndicated conservative columnist George Will, who warned of the Democrats’ “stealth single-payer agenda.”
Assurances that the government plan would play by the rules that private insurers play by are implausible. Government is incapable of behaving like market-disciplined private insurers. Competition from the public option must be unfair because government does not need to make a profit and has enormous pricing and negotiating powers. Besides, unless the point of a government plan is to be cheaper, it is pointless: If the public option conforms to the imperatives that regulations and competition impose on private insurers, there is no reason for it.
That the American people seem more concerned with their own health than with the health of the insurance industry doesn’t appear to have crosssed Will’s mind. In the wake of the new poll numbers, we’ll see if he and other conservatives still feel the need to protect 72 percent of Americans from their own thinking.