Public Option Ain’t Dead Just Yet



Dave Mann

Just when I was ready to accept that Congress would never include a so-called public option in the final health care reform plan, The Washington Post released a poll today showing that a majority of Americans support the idea.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans want some version of a government-run plan.

Here’s the key graph in the Post story:

On the issue that has been perhaps the most pronounced flash point in the national debate, 57 percent of all Americans now favor a public insurance option, while 40 percent oppose it. Support has risen since mid-August, when a bare majority, 52 percent, said they favored it. (In a June Post-ABC poll, support was 62 percent.)

The trend line is interesting: from overwhelming support for a public option in June, to barely a majority during the summer of angry townhall meetings, and now back near 60 percent.

Amazing what happens when the government-takeover-of-health-care rhetoric subsides a bit.

It’s still highly unlikely that a public option could garner the 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster in the Senate.

But a few more poll results like this might give the beleaguered public option a little life.

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.