Despite the perception you may get from President Obama and his allies in the media, a new CNN poll finds that more than eight in 10 Americans say they’re satisfied with the health care they receive, and three out of four say they are happy with their overall coverage. Yet at the same time, more than three-quarters are unhappy with the cost of care. (You can guess which statistic made the headline.)
This explains why President Obama’s strategy for selling his health care vision has been to emphasize the cost of coverage while trying to convince people that anybody who is satisfied with their current health care will be unaffected by his overhaul of the system. Assuming this poll is accurate, it’s pretty clear that the best strategy Republicans have for defeating him on this issue is to effectively communicate to the public how Obama’s massive government intervention in health care will, by design, distort the private market. The theory that motivates the Obama team is that they are going to migrate more people into a new optional government-run plan modeled after Medicare, and then use increased bargaining power to bully the profit-seeking private sector into behaving the way they think it should. This will include following government guidelines as to what types of treatment are and are not cost effective. And as we’ve seen in Massachusetts, we can expect longer wait times.