A plan in trouble

The healthcare plan from the President and Congress is clearly in trouble. There is a simple reason why this is so.

Now supporters stab their fingers at a hundred different reasons. They say the protests are staged, organized. People have been brainwashed by propaganda from the right. People dont know what is best for them. The insurance companies are the villains. And, of course, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have conned millions. And all that.

Meanwhile, opponents of reform also cite a hundred reasons why the proposal cowers behind a rock at the moment.

There is a simple reason why the proposal is in trouble. From that one reason a hundred others sprout.

The reason: Most Americans are happy with their healthcare. They have told survey after survey they are happy. A substantial majority have. Only 19 percent rate our system as poor. And only 7 percent say their own healthcare is poor. That is according to a recent Rasmussen poll.



Think about that. Congress and the President want this country to take on massive changes in healthcare. These changes will affect all of us. And yet only 7 percent of us tell pollsters our own healthcare is poor.

Now, many of the same folks agree that we need changes. (Were okay, but others need better healthcare.) But when you propose changes to folks who are happy with what they have, many of them say Im a happy camper. Dont tamper with anything that applies to me.

Truth is, if we are going to change healthcare in a big way, the changes will have to affect many millions who like healthcare the way it is. The way it is for them.

One big change will be higher taxes. Americans know the government cannot wade into this industry and lower costs. They know when government gets involved in anything, costs go up.

They know that when the costs go up, taxes will have to go up to cover them. Only 28 percent of Americans tell Rasmussen they are willing to pay those higher taxes. About 60 percent say they are opposed to paying them.

And if you are not convinced Americans feel taxes will go up, here is another sobering nugget from Rasmussen. Over 78 percent of voters say the passage of healthcare reform will lead to higher taxes for the middle class.

Are there other surveys that show we are more favorable to the reforms? There are. But the questions Ive seen look a bit deceptive. If so and so led to such and such would you still be in favor...?

There are just too many surveys that tell us a big majority of Americans like their own healthcare plan. That level of satisfaction is a huge boulder smack in the middle of the road to reform.

This makes for a nasty problem for Democrats. They not only take a pasting at the town hall meetings. They also read polls. One tells them only 41 percent of Democrat voters favor ramming the bills through Congress without Republican votes. Nationwide, only 24 percent of all voters support that idea. Those small numbers loom large when they think of campaigning next year.

No doubt many congressguys are sending that message to the President these days. Many are telling him that ramming the reform bills through congress could cost them their seats. All the rants by Madame Pelosi cannot change this. For instance only one voter in four agrees with her that insurance companies are villains.

Back to my original suggestion. The best report on the situation could be delivered to the President in a single fortune cookie. People who like what they have, no like substitutes.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Toms radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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