What Your Fellow Americans Don't Know About Health Care Reform

August 2009
Yesterday, the AARP joined Charlie Cook, the man behind The Cook Political Report, at the Tattered Cover Book Store to release the results of a poll on health care conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates. Surprisingly, nearly eight in ten Americans say they support a federal health insurance plan for those who can't afford or can't get private insurance---in other words, a so-called "public option." Unfortunately, just 37 percent of those polled don't correctly define the meaning of "public option," notes The Denver Post: 25 percent of people think it means a national system similar to Great Britain's. As Morie Smile, interim director of Colorado's AARP office, says, "Nobody seems to have a firm grasp on the vocabulary. It's either a sacred cow or a punching bag." The poll also found that 86 percent of people say nobody should be denied insurance because of their health history, and almost 75 percent of people polled believe employers who don't provide health insurance should be required to contribute to a fund to help uninsured employees purchase plans. The Rocky Mountain Independent has been exploring the issues, noting bipartisan support for "keeping health reform fiscally responsible." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal writes that "what is at stake in the debate over health care is more than the mere crafting of policy. The issue is now the identity of the Democratic Party."