The NY Times reports:
The national telephone survey, which was conducted from June 12 to 16, found that 72 percent of those questioned supported a government-administered insurance plan — something like Medicare for those under 65 — that would compete for customers with private insurers. Twenty percent said they were opposed.Let's see. . . . The Democrats control the presidency and the House of Representatives, have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and they have 72 percent of the American public behind them on the issue.
If Obama cannot get Congressional Democrats to pass the kind of health care reform that Americans want, anyone can appreciate that Obama's authority is likely be greatly diminished -- for the duration of his (one-term) presidency.
There is a lot of talk in the US media about what a "tough fight" health system reform will be for Obama. I think this kind of talk is a load of hooey -- encouraged by the Democrats themselves.
Because Obama and the majority of Democrats in Congress have more than sufficient political capital to accomplish meaningful reform. They could ostracize, shame, or even threaten to suspend from their party members who try to block reform. And these members' careers would be finished. But it would never come to this, because if soft-spoken Obama carried this kind of big stick, recalcitrant Democrats would have "the excuse" they needed to fall in line with the party. No, talk about the "difficulty of reform" is just a way out should Obama and the Democrats choose to put coporate interests first.
But there is no way out.
Photo, by Jotman, shows a sign outside an ancient temple in Cambodia. Don't miss the follow-up to this post: What needs reform even more than health care?