Get Gov’t Away From Health Care and Leave My Medicare Alone!
Posted by Eric on June 11, 2009
It’s almost certain that we are going to get some form of health care reform this year. The Obama budget triggers health care reform to automatically move to the reconciliation process if it doesn’t get passed by summer. So if the Republicans and centrist Democrats filibuster or squash health care reform, the budget reconciliation process allows legislation to get passed with only 50 votes (rather than the 60 necessary to end a filibuster).
Of course insurance companies, BigPharma, free marketers, and just about anyone with entrenched interest in the current broken health care system will mobilize to water down reform as much as they can. One of the first steps will be to try to turn public attitudes against “government intervention” into care. You know, stopping big government from interfering with the “doctor-patient relationship” and making sure that “hospitals aren’t being run like DMV.” Considering that the American health care system is very badly broken and knowing that popular president Barack Obama won a landslide election campaigning (in part) on fixing health care, you’d think the public would be in pretty fervent agreement with the president’s positions. Right?
Not exactly. According to Pew’s recent survey, public opinion about health care reform is decidedly mixed. While 86% of people told researchers they thought “the government needs to do more to make health care affordable and accessible,” 46% answered (see the table on the right) that they were “concerned that the government is becoming too involved in health care.” In other words, a significant number of people really have no clue what they think.
What’s pretty striking is, when broken down by age, the only segment of the population in which a majority fears the government is becoming too involved in health care is the over 65 crowd. This hit me as pretty weird since most of these old people are on Medicare and old people love their Medicare! Or so I thought. But maybe these folks have to deal with government-sponsored health care and know first hand of the evils that a governmental insurance plan holds. So I looked up the numbers and decided to bake up this delicious pie chart:
As you can see, old people really do like their Medicare. So where are their worries coming from? Are they scared this will somehow negatively impact their Medicare? Do they just not want others to have the wonderful services they do? Are they confused?
If anyone has any ideas, fill me in, because this doesn’t make any sense.