Support for Obamacare now softer than in 1993

With the hysterical hype from the media and liberals in the government, you’d think that people were in the streets clamoring for government-run health care to fix our current system. New polls comparing the same questions asked in 1993 to today show that is not the case. In fact, they show the opposite sentiment, that the public has moved away from wanting the government to intervene in the health care market.

Pew Research reports:

Relatively few Americans believe the country as a whole is spending the right amount on health care at this point, but there is no consensus on what the problem is. Just as many Americans say we are spending too much on health care (38%) as too little (40%).

This represents a sharp turnaround in the balance of opinion from three years ago. In early 2006, a 57% majority said that the country as a whole was spending too little on health care, while about half as many (26%) said we were spending too much. And this shift in opinion crosses party lines – more Democrats, Republicans and independents today say the country spends too much on health care than said this in 2006.

In April 1993 – as Bill Clinton was initiating his health care reform effort – 49% of Americans felt the country was spending too little on health care, while 36% said the country was spending too much. Just a year later – in June of 1994 – the public was divided, much as it is today, with 38% saying too much and 40% saying too little.

That isn’t even the crux of it. When asked, similarly as in 1993, how the health care system needed to be “fixed,” this is the result:

But there is less support for completely rebuilding the health care system than there was during the early stage of the Clinton administration’s unsuccessful effort to revamp health care. In April 1993, a majority of Americans (55%) said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt. As discussion of Clinton’s proposals progressed, support for completely rebuilding the health care system declined. By June 1994, just 37% said the health care system needed to be completely rebuilt.

Again, this is mainly an illustration of the disagreement many have, including Democrats, with President Obama’s big-government policies even though they “approve” of him personally.

Meanwhile, another issue which is all-but certain to turn the public off the Obamacare plan, congress is busy finding new things to tax in order to pay for the overhaul:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Early work on the ambitious health care overhaul the Obama administration is seeking has exposed the kinds of in-house fights that typify just how hard it will be to get meaningful legislation this year. Case in point: A proposal to help bankroll universal health coverage with a dime-a-can increase in the price of soft drinks.

House Democrats have lots of potential targets for higher taxes as they aim to expand health care coverage to reach the roughly 50 million that experts say are uninsured.

Also under consideration are higher alcohol taxes, increases to the Medicare payroll tax and a value-added tax, a sort of national sales tax, of up to 1.5 percent or more.

The list of options being weighed by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, and obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, aims to raise some $600 billion over 10 years to partially pay for President Barack Obama’s goal of overhauling the nation’s health care system to tame costs and cover the 50 million uninsured.

The final price tag for that effort could top $1 trillion, with cuts to Medicare and Medicaid covering the rest of the cost.

The tax options include:

– Increasing the price of soda and other sugary drinks by 10 cents a can.

– Applying a potential 2 percent income tax increase to single taxpayers earning more than $200,000 a year and households earning more than $250,000.

– A new employer payroll tax could target 3 percent of employers’ health care expenditures.

– Taxing employer-provided health insurance benefits above certain levels – a less likely option but one that still is in the running.

House Democrats planned to unveil a draft of their sweeping health care bill Friday. It would require all individuals to obtain health insurance and force employers to offer health care to their workers, with exemptions for small businesses. A new public health insurance plan, strongly opposed by Republicans, would compete with private companies within a new health care purchasing “exchange” where Americans could shop for coverage. Government subsidies would help the poor buy care.

The public health insurance plan is the Trojan horse in this proposal. This is the part of the plan which will immediately have an affect on dismantling the private insurance market. Furthermore, more studies show that while the public plan will provide coverage to millions, some 21 million would be kicked off their current private plan as employers opt for the public option to offload costs. The results won’t be pretty as the government continues to concentrate power in Washington.

All of this points to the great possibility of defeating this government power grab and instituting an alternative plan which truly does promote competition.

Add in the fact that the American Medical Association, a group which has been pushing true reform, opposes President Obama’s public plan option due to the way it destroys a patient-centric model.

Karl Rove discussed an alternative Republican plan in a recent Op-Ed:

Fortunately, Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Devin Nunes of California have devised a plan that will likely appeal to anyone interested in making health insurance more affordable and portable.

Their proposal — called the Patients’ Choice Act — is to leave in place the tax deduction companies receive for providing employees with health insurance and to create a “Medi-Choice” tax rebate that will give individuals $2,200 and families $5,700 to spend on health insurance.

The rebate will make health insurance more affordable, especially for young people. It also will make health insurance portable, which will free people from being locked into jobs they hate because they are afraid of losing their health insurance.

The Coburn-Ryan plan also helps the hard-to-insure and chronically ill because it shares their risk across all insurance companies, providing lower premiums than they might find now. It would help those in Medicaid because they receive private insurance rather than being forced into a one-size-fits-all government program in which doctors are increasingly refusing to participate.

The House GOP also formed a Health Care Solutions Group that unveiled proposals yesterday. The group wanted to make health care more affordable, expand availability, and promote healthier life choices. It did this by proposing two-dozen ways to improve existing law to make it easier and more cost-effective to buy health insurance.

One proposal is to give families who purchase their own insurance a tax benefit similar to the one companies get for providing health benefits. Another proposal is to pass medical liability reforms that will reduce costly junk lawsuits. Still another would allow small businesses to team up to buy insurance at a group discount. The group also wants to allow families to save money tax-free for a wide range of health expenses and permit children to stay on their parents’ policies until age 25.

Under the group’s proposals, Medicaid beneficiaries would get the flexibility to choose private coverage, rather than being locked into a government-run program. The group is also calling for stepping up efforts to detect and punish Medicare and Medicaid fraud, which costs an estimated $60 billion a year.

Individual Republicans are also stepping forward with health-reform ideas, such as creating a national health-insurance market that would allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines. Sens. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) have offered other ideas, including expanding community health centers.

This is the first time congressional Republicans as a group have been comfortable talking about health care. It may be the product of necessity, but it is also necessary to get a robust debate on health-care reform.

Republicans need to talk about it because any plan which does not involved government control of your health care decisions will be more welcome by the public assuming it addresses the concepts of competition and affordability.