An astounding Gallup poll came out today that states that a majority of Americans (50%-47%) now believe the government shouldn’t be responsible for making sure everyone has health insurance. That’s amazing in and of itself, but when you look at the trend it’s simply astonishing. Just three years ago in 2006, the split was 69% in favor and 28% against. That’s a 44-point swing against governmental involvement in a fairly short amount of time.
Secondarily, but just as important, the percentage of Americans who want to maintain the current system based on private insurance has shot to a recent high of 61%. The majority have always wanted to keep it rather than replace it with a government system, but it’s only recently that the gap has widened so dramatically.
More than likely, as Ed Morrissey states, the reason the American populace has reversed its stand on federal mandated coverage is the high cost involved and the massive governmental bureaucracy and intrusion it entails. The bills being pushed now are quite simply awful, and their numerous shortcomings are recognized by conservatives, independents, and free-thinking liberals alike. There’s a responsible way to advance the laudable goal of health care reform, but a gargantuan all-or-nothing government program isn’t the way to do it.
Congressional Democrats, are you listening? The American people don’t want what you’re selling. We supposedly have a democracy, so it’s time to read the writing on the wall and change direction in the debate over health care reform. Tackling costs and helping those who can’t get insurance is worth looking at, but the big-government nanny-state approach we’ve seen so far isn’t the way to go about it.
Will they listen? I sort of doubt it. What’s being pursued on Capitol Hill isn’t a pragmatic and practical approach to figure out a centrist course on what’s best for Americans, but a partisan-driven fulfillment of an ideological goal. Democrats are so close to passing a public option that’s more like a funnel towards a single payer system than a humble alternative to private insurance, so they’re unlikely to care about the shift in attitudes when they have a Holy Grail to grab instead. Americans are growing massively skeptical, but the liberal base wants it, so the stupid voters can go to hell. Congress knows best, and all that.