The American public is desperate for health care reform. Already passed in the House (with a public option included), the fight for reform now moves to the Senate.
But do Americans want reform that was passed? Recent polls can shed some light on this question. Most Americans in a recent CNN survey are unsatisfied with the bill the House has passed. 46 percent of Americans support the bill while 49 percent find it unsatisfactory.
But that doesn't mean that Americans don't want reform -- in fact, that same poll shows just the opposite.
The poll was broken down further by CNN. Of those who responded, 46 percent did support the bill -- but 10 percent (of the 49 percent who opposed the bill) thought it didn't go far enough. That means that 56 percent of Americans either like the bill passed by the House or want it to be even more liberal than it already is; only 39 percent of Americans think it's too liberal.
Though most thought that the bill passed wasn't perfect, the results of this poll are indicative of an American public that wants reform passed -- and passed soon.
It may come sooner that we thought. Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released the Senate's plan for health care reform. The plan would ensure that 94 percent of Americans would be insured (only 83 percent are today) and would create a public insurance plan that would compete with the private industry. It would mandate that discrimination based on pre-existing conditions be outlawed, and would cut the budget deficit by nearly $130 billion over the next ten years.
The bill has already calmed the fears of some centrist Senators, who were worried the overwhelming costs would add to the budget deficit. But Republicans have vowed to fight it, through a filibuster in the upper house of Congress that can only be broken with 60 votes.
Americans will likely be mixed about the Senate bill as well, again with some who think it isn't liberal enough. But the bills before us today represent the best chance we've got towards granting health care coverage to millions of uninsured (and underinsured) Americans. Necessary changes must be made, but we should support what we have before us right now. Call Sens. Feingold and Kohl, and tell them to fight hard for health care reform. If you're up for it, call Sen. Joe Lieberman, too: he needs to hear from all Americans that his plan to join a Republican-led filibuster is hurting this country.
Lieberman phone: (202) 224-4041
Feingold phone: (202) 224-5323
Kohl phone: (202) 224-5653