Friday, October 26, 2007

Voters Favor Democrats Health Care Proposals

Health care is widely seen as the top domestic issue in 2008 and the Democrats continue to poll strong in this area. From the Kaiser Network:
U.S. adults favor health care proposals from Democratic presidential candidates more than plans from Republican candidates, according to a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey.

According to the survey, 62% favor a requirement that large employers offer health insurance to employees -- a provision included in health care proposals from Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) -- and 31% oppose such a requirement. Fifty-one percent favor a requirement that individuals obtain health insurance -- a provision included in the Clinton and Edwards proposals -- and 39% oppose such a requirement, the survey found.

Forty-four percent favor tax credits to help individuals purchase private health insurance -- a provision included in health care proposals from former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani (R) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) -- and 45% oppose such tax credits, according to the survey.
Tax credits pretty evenly divide voters, but those opposing the credits (especially among the middle-class) could increase as more employers drop health insurance and premiums continue to climb. As a woman quoted in the LA Times article said:
"A tax credit is just a tax credit," VanDruff said. "You get that just once a year, and it is not going to cover the cost to you for health insurance."

"If you are rich-rich, you can afford it, and if you are poor-poor, they'll help you with it," she said of health insurance. "But if you are that in-between guy, you are in trouble."
There were two other significant results from the poll:
The survey found that 53% favor an expansion of Medicare to all U.S. residents and that 36% oppose such an expansion. "In one of the most politically significant results, the poll finds that independents and moderates were generally lining up with Democrats in the health care debate," the Times reports.
Independents lined with up Democrats because of "job lock." In all, 20% of independents said they or someone in their household were forced to stay in a job because it provided health care, compared with 13% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans.

(Cross-posted at BFM.)

Update: Thanks to DJ @ BFM for pointing out what I missed about the story above. Hillary Clinton's plan does include tax credits. This is how John Nichols @ The Nation describes it:
The Clinton plan maintains the current system of for-profit, insurance-industry defined health care delivery. The only real change is that, in return for minimal requirements regarding coverage of those with preexisting conditions, the government would pump hundreds of billions in federal dollars into the accounts of some of the country’s wealthiest corporations. The plan’s tax credit scheme would buy some more coverage for low-income families, which is good, but it would do so at a cost so immense that, ultimately, Clinton’s plan will be as tough a sell as the failed 1993 “Hillarycare” proposal.
Some more coverage is good, but Kucinich's Medicare-For-All is much, much better.


abi said...

I don't get Kucinich's poll numbers. He's proposing what millions of Americans seem to want on the big issues - Iraq, health care - yet Steven Colbert is polling higher than he is. Maybe if he had Clinton's name and Thompson's TV-generated mystique...

Kathy said...

I've wondered about that too and have a theory. I don't think he's a particularly handsome man, he's of small stature and short, so that rules out getting votes from the population who judges people by appearance.

Kucinich isn't a multi-millionaire either, so that rules out votes from that part of the population who equate riches with power.

That leaves him with intelligence and honesty, both noble qualities and ones I think people used to look for in candidates running for office. Not anymore. People vote for the latest flavor of the month and the rest of us suffer indigestion because of them. :-/