by Bob Geary
(Update: But the Ghost of Public Option still inhabits the land.)
Even in a swing/conservative state currently under bombardment by anti-health care reform ads from the Americans for Prosperity bunch, the Elon Poll finds broad support among North Carolinians for 1) reform of some kind; 2) reform that goes farther than what's on the table in Washington; 3) a public option insurance plan as part of the current reform package, and 4) a single-payer system of health care, i.e., one run by or at least paid for by the federal government. You mean, the Tea Party crowd isn't a vast majority?
Weirdly, at least to me, the results of this poll were sent to the media by the Democratic National Committee (as well as by Elon).
I say weird because the poll indicates that only about 39 percent of N.C. voters back reform along the lines of the Obama-Congressional plan due for a vote in the House on Sunday. But our voters would get behind adding a public option to the plan by a 53-37 percent majority.
Too bad, because with President Obama's blessing, congressional Democrats dropped the public option, a big reason IMHO why their plan isn't very popular.
Earlier, of course, the President backed the public option -- or said he did -- in preference to a single-payer plan that many Democrats would favor but he, Obama, and such alleged Democrats as Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln, didn't.
And, btw, how would N.C. feel about single-payer? Pretty good, apparently. Elon's respondents split 47-47, with the rest having no opinion, on the question: Would you [support or oppose] a national insurance plan paid for by the federal government that pays most medical and hospital costs for all citizens?
On such a supposed hot-button question, I think you could fairly add the "no opinions" to the supporters as a gauge to public acceptance of the single-payer concept. So, bottom line, 53 percent would be OK with either a government-run health care system or, failing that, a system that includes a government-run option in the mix with private insurance products.
That's 53 percent in North Carolina, folks. We're not talking Vermont here.
But instead of these popular ideas, congressional Democrats are campaigning for "reform" that will require everyone to own over-priced private insurance, like it or lump it. Raise your hand if you think that's a good idea. (Not you, Tea Party folks. The last good idea you guys remember was secession.)
The poll results are here (scroll down past the initial question on a different subject). Elon's press release is below the fold.
Elon Poll: North Carolinians favor healthcare reform
March 19, 2010
With decision time nearing on healthcare legislation in Congress, North Carolinians continue to believe that the nation's healthcare system is in need of reform, according to the latest Elon University Poll. The poll, conducted March 14–17, surveyed 579 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
While about half of residents say they are satisfied with the quality of healthcare in the country, more than three-fourths of North Carolinans believe the current health care system in the United States is in need of reform. Support for reform is unchanged from October 2009, when the Elon Poll asked residents the same question.
Would you say the health care system in the United States is in need of reform?
Is in need of reform: 78 percent
Fine the way it is: 15 percent
Needs something done, just not by the government: 6 percent
Those who favor reform were presented with three choices regarding the direction of reform. Almost half favor more government involvement:
Government isn’t going far enough: 48 percent
Government is going too far: 23 percent
Health insurance is a private sector issue: 17 percent
None of these: 12 percent
North Carolinians are evenly divided on whether there should be a national insurance plan paid for by the federal government that pays most medical and hospital costs for all citizens. When asked whether the federal government would offer a public insurance plan option, more than half (53 percent) of North Carolinians support it, while 37 percent oppose it.