Public Support for the Public Option Grows

The public’s support for the public option in healthcare reform is on the upswing, as the Senate debates whether to include such a plan in the ultimate healthcare overhaul bill.  According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, fully 57 percent of Americans favor a public option, a rise from the 52 percent reported in August.  Even so, the statistic is below the 62 percent approval rating the public option received in June.

At present, the Senate is working to reconcile the Finance Committee’s healthcare bill and the Health Committee’s legislation.  Only the Health Committee’s legislation includes a public option, which President Obama favors but has said is not a requirement.  The public option is a bone of contention in the healthcare reform process, and has strong opposition from Republicans who believe it could drive private insurers from the marketplace and result in a single-payer system.

Patients First, a conservative group, believes the poll’s methodology is flawed.  According to Phil Kerpen, the group’s policy director, “The poll is a mirage designed to create the illusion of a groundswell of support for government-forced healthcare when no such support exists.  The poll reflects the political aspirations of a few peddlers of failed big-government ideas, not the common sense wishes of the American people.”

President Obama has said he wants to sign healthcare reform legislation by Christmas.

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