Public likes public option for healthcare. Joe Lieberman doesn't.
Poll results tend to show that voters approve of the public option for healthcare. But senators like Joe Lieberman could vote the other way.
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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine, the only Republican in Congress who has voted for any of the early Democratic versions of healthcare reform, said Tuesday that she would vote with Republicans to block the version outlined by Reid.
Surveying public opinion of the public option, a New England Journal of Medicine article earlier this year co-authored by Harvard health-policy professor Robert Blendon found it mixed. "Introduction of a public plan as a competitor is supported in most polls, but respondents vary in their beliefs about how such a plan should function," said the article.
Yet some recent polls have shown strong support. In an Oct. 20 ABC News/Washington Post survey, 57 percent of respondents were in favor of government establishing a health plan to compete with private insurers.
Some analysts have criticized this survey, saying it did not make clear that the government would actually run the plan. If that information is added, support diminishes, they claim.
"I would argue that there is no public opinion on the public option. You can move the public-opinion needle significantly with changes in wording or emphasis," said Karlyn Bowman, a polling expert at the American Enterprise Institute, at the Oct. 23 Kaiser Family Foundation seminar on health reform and polls.
But Ms. Brodie of Kaiser said that in their polls, they have tried a number of different wordings, and while support varies, it still exists.
"No matter how we ask it, we get a majority supporting it in one way or another," she said.
• Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
For more on the reemergence of the public option yesterday, click here.
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