Obama Pollster Responds To Scare Stories On Health Care Reform

Joel Benenson, who is described as “the lead pollster to Barack Obama” has an op-ed in The Washington Post responding to yesterday’s op-ed by Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen which I discussed here. Benenson counters some of the misleading poll data (which I also noted yesterday) by showing greater support for health care reform than is claimed by Caddell and Schoen.

Benenson (whose interest in this is obvious from his position) concludes by arguing that passage of the bill will be beneficial for Democrats:

Health care and health-care reform are complex issues for policy experts, let alone for the rest of us. After a year of debate that has focused more on political process than policy, it is not surprising that Kaiser found in January that more than four in 10 Americans are not aware that the current plan includes elements such as tax credits to small business that want to offer coverage to employees or that it bans insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions.

The central components of the plan — a ban on denying coverage of preexisting conditions, closing the Medicare “doughnut hole” on the drug coverage gap for seniors, creating an insurance exchange in which small business and those without coverage could buy private insurance at competitive rates — are all supported by solid majorities, from 60 percent to 81 percent.

There’s no question that a majority of Americans oppose a government-run health system. But there is no government-run health care in the plan, and not a single American would be forced into any government-run program.

In politics, new information is always the most potent. When it comes to health care and insurance, once reform passes, the tangible benefits Americans will realize will trump the fear-mongering rhetoric opponents are stoking today.

And when that reality kicks in, the political burden will shift from those who supported the plan to those who voted against banning insurance companies from denying coverage to those who are sick, against the tax credits for small businesses offering coverage, or against helping seniors on Medicare pay less for prescription drugs.

It is no accident that Republican leaders are warning Democrats of dire political consequences if health reform passes.

But there is every reason to believe that for Republicans, the negative consequences will be their own.

As I noted in my previous discussion, there are serious faults in the op-ed by Caddell and Schoen but their warnings should not be ignored. Yes, there will be benefits when Democrats have one specific bill to defend. However, the problem remains that most of the benefits will not be seen for many years. Many people will never even understand the benefits they have received.

Those who are never faced with having their insurance canceled because of getting sick may also never realize how great a risk that is at present. It is true that “here is no government-run health care in the plan, and not a single American would be forced into any government-run program” but the right wing noise machine will continue to make this claim and many people will not realize that this is a lie for a few years.

Democrats a present need to be concerned not only with getting the Senate bill passed in the House and making some important fixes through reconciliation. They need to do a better job of getting past the right wing spin and getting the voters to understand exactly what they have passed without depending upon waiting for people to see the changes in action.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    eindiainsurance says:

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  2. 2
    ObamaUpdate says:

    » Obama Pollster Responds To Scare Stories On Health Care Reform …: Joel Benenson, who is described as “the lead… http://bit.ly/bLHG3a

  3. 3
    SteveTaff says:

    » Obama Pollster Responds To Scare Stories On Health Care Reform … http://bit.ly/dpeQqx

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