Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The surging popularity of health-care reform

Given Republicans' emphasis on public opinion lately, falsely claiming that a majority of the American people were against health-care reform (when they were really just against the bill as it wound its way in ugly fashion through Congress, and when much of the opposition to it was coming from the left, which didn't think it went nearly far enough), I wonder what they'll say about this new poll showing a significant bounce of support with additional support for more to be done:

More Americans now favor than oppose the health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law Tuesday, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds -- a notable turnaround from surveys before the vote that showed a plurality against the legislation.

By 49%-40%, those polled say it was "a good thing" rather than a bad one that Congress passed the bill. Half describe their reaction in positive terms -- as "enthusiastic" or "pleased" -- while about four in 10 describe it in negative ways, as "disappointed" or "angry."

The largest single group, 48%, calls the legislation "a good first step" that needs to be followed by more action. And 4% say the bill itself makes the most important changes needed in the nation's health care system.

We'll see if this is sustainable, but some of us proponents of reform have long been arguing that reform would turn out to be extemely popular once the ugliness of the legislative process was over (not that it's quite over in the Senate yet) and once Americans learned in greater detail what exactly was in the bill -- popular items like extending coverage to the uninsured, banning coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, lowering costs, and reducing the deficit over the long haul.

Is it premature to say we told you so?

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