Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Sunday, June 28, 2009

  WaPo on health-care reform 'centrism'

The Post publishes a typically silly look at Democratic activists who are pushing their party's conservative Senators to stop undermining the 'public option' (the very mildest reform proposal that has any chance of substantially improving America's health-care disaster). But in the Post's view, the Democratic obstructionists are 'centrists' and the liberal activists are, well, pointy-headed fools of course.

The rising tensions between Democratic legislators and constituencies that would typically be their natural allies underscore the high hurdles for Obama as he tries to hold together a diverse, fragile coalition. Activists say they are simply pressing for quick delivery of "true health reform," but the intraparty rift runs the risk of alienating centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill.


Pity the poor 'centrists', who almost alone in Washington it seems must submit to listening to constituents' views. What makes these Senators' views 'centrist'? Evidently it's because they oppose reform that 76% of the public strongly backs (PDF), and side instead with the tiny minority of Americans who oppose a public plan.

The Post eventually gets around to acknowledging this inconvenient fact - however in a fashion utterly characteristic of this Tory paper.

"Democratic senators are taking millions of dollars from insurance and health-care interests and getting lobbied by those donors and coming out against a position that 76 percent of Americans agree on," said Adam Green, interim chief executive of Change Congress.

While recent polls show high initial support for a government option, the number declines if told the insurance industry could fold as a result.


In other news today, the Post reports that a large majority of the American public supports the safe disposal of used batteries but support falls away when people are told that as many as 23 states may need to be evacuated and turned into colossal landfills.

I don't know which polls the Post is referring to, but the recent NBC/WSJ poll (linked above) does not posit such a dire consequence as: 'The insurance industry could fold if you get your pesky public plan, so what do you think of it now?' It did ask people whether they thought employers might drop their health care plan if a public plan were created; and whether a public plan might limit access to doctors and medical treatment options. But that's very different from the dire scenario that the Post claims pollsters are putting to the public. Maybe it's only those damned elusive 'centrist' pollsters who are asking such questions.

The rising tensions between Democratic legislators and constituencies that would typically be their natural allies underscore the high hurdles for Obama as he tries to hold together a diverse, fragile coalition. Activists say they are simply pressing for quick delivery of "true health reform," but the intraparty rift runs the risk of alienating centrist Democrats who will be needed to pass a bill.


Pity the poor 'centrists', who almost alone in Washington it seems must submit to listening to constituents' views. What makes these Senators' views 'centrist'? Evidently it's because they oppose reform that 76% of the public strongly backs (PDF), and side instead with the tiny minority of Americans who oppose a public plan.

The Post eventually gets around to acknowledging this inconvenient fact - however in a fashion utterly characteristic of this Tory paper.

"Democratic senators are taking millions of dollars from insurance and health-care interests and getting lobbied by those donors and coming out against a position that 76 percent of Americans agree on," said Adam Green, interim chief executive of Change Congress.

While recent polls show high initial support for a government option, the number declines if told the insurance industry could fold as a result.


In other news today, the Post reports that a large majority of the American public supports the safe disposal of used batteries but support falls away when people are told that as many as 23 states may need to be evacuated and turned into colossal landfills.

I don't know which polls the Post is referring to, but the recent NBC/WSJ poll (linked above) does not posit such a dire consequence as: 'The insurance industry could fold if you get your pesky public plan, so what do you think of it now?' It did ask people whether they thought employers might drop their health care plan if a public plan were created; and whether a public plan might limit access to doctors and medical treatment options. But that's very different from the dire scenario that the Post claims pollsters are putting to the public. Maybe it's only those damned elusive 'centrist' pollsters who are asking such questions.

Update: Ok, the Post itself did conduct a (single) poll in which it posited this silly question:

What if having the government create a new health insurance plan made many private health insurers go out of business because they could not compete? In that case would you support or oppose creating a government-run health insurance plan?


As the Post's own blogger Ezra Klein pointed out, that question is arbitrarily alarmist.

Meanwhile at Open Left Adam Green describes the foolishness of the line of questioning he endured from the Post reporter, Ceci Connolly.

crossposted from unbossed.com

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