The Senate is moving toward what seems to be the passage of its version of a mammoth revamp of the nation's health care system. This is occurring as the opinion of the majority of Americans believes that the country cannot afford it and that their own cost of health care will increase. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll published in the Wednesday, December 16th edition, "Negatives Abound in Poll" of the Post confirms that most Americans do not want to have the health care laws rewritten as embodied in the current House version or the soon to be passed Senate version.
In the poll, the Post, which has been known to tilt left in its positions and editorials, asked the general public 5 questions. One of the most revealing one was whether there was support for the changes to the health care system being developed by Congress and the administration. While overall there was more opposition than support by a 51 - 44 vote, those that had strong views on the question clearly opposed those who supported it by a 40 to 26 per cent difference. This wide margin probably includes even some liberals who lean toward greater government intervention and involvement. A basis for this opposition can also be found in the poll numbers about whether the proposed programs will increase or decrease the federal budget deficit. Nearly two thirds, or 66%, answered that it would increase the deficit and only 11% believe that it will decrease it. As Senators await the latest Congressional Budget office's estimates of the cost of the latest version, the general public seems to have calculated the financial cost already and decided that the changes will have a negative effect on the country's budget.
The push for Senate passage improved yesterday as one of the recent proposed changes involving opening Medicare to people 55 years of age was deleted. This was a concession to Senator Joe Lieberman who was adamantly opposed to it. In a televised interview, he indicated for the 1st time that he could see a basis for voting for the latest Senate version. With his support, the prospects for getting the necessary 60 votes to override a filibuster looked brighter. President Obama added to the pressure on his fellow Democrats in a meeting with them Tuesday at the White House where he later stood with the Senate Democratic leadership and announced that he was confident that a generational changing health care bill will be enacted.
Recent political history has shown that a party in power will take advantage and push through changes that they believe are important components of their agenda and represent the desires of the majority. The recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows otherwise. Presently, there is no majority that favors the changes proposed by Congress. The poll illustrates the risk that Obama and the majorities that the Democrats enjoy in both houses face as they shove enactment of health care legislation on the American public. How it all plays out remains to be seen, but if the polls are a strong indication of the current views of the general public, then the bureaucrats need to listen and act accordingly. Otherwise, they may need to go work for somebody else.