A Public Plan: Three-Quarters Want To Have That Choice

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Both the NYT/CBS and Wall Street Journal/NBC polls out today have produced some “honeymoon is over” headlines. But buried in the WSJ/NBC poll is this bit of data that is of interest to those of us following the health care debate. Asked whether a health care overhaul should give people a choice of both private insurance and a plan administered by the government, three-quarters rated it quite or extremely important. I’m told the unequivocal result surprised even the pollsters:

public plan screenshot

FOLLOWUP: A few qualifiers. First of all, the use of the word “choice” in the question is important. It doesn’t mean that all these people would choose to join the public plan, just that they want it as an option. And pretty much any time you ask people if they want to have a choice, their inclination is likely to be yes. Second, the followup questions show some more nuance. Significant numbers of those who currently have employer-provided coverage–47%–believe that the existence of a public plan would make their own employers somewhat or very likely to drop it. And they are closely divided on what they believe the effects of such a plan would be. 47% say it would lower costs and provide quality care; 42% say such a plan would limit access to doctors and medical treatment options.:

followup questions