New poll shows support for Baby Boomer Medicare by Paul Briand
The U.S. Senate is moving in a direction contrary to a majority of the nation's hopes for health care reform, according to a new poll from NBC and the Wall Street Journal.
Not only do a majority of Americans favor a public option, a majority also favors, as a substitute, an expanded Medicare program for Baby Boomers aged 55 to 64.
According to the poll, 45 percent of Americans found it "not acceptable" that the current legislation "would no longer create a public health care plan administered by the federal government to compete directly with private health insurance companies."
And the poll said 58 percent found it "acceptable" that as a substitute "proposed legislation would create a health insurance plan offered by private insurers that would be available in every state for people who lack employer-provided coverage, and would allow people between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-four years old to buy into Medicare, the government health care plan for seniors."
The Senate bill right now is so watered down from its original vision that many liberal Democrats are threatening to withdraw their support.
A point/counterpoint argument is being waged within the Democratic party between the White House and former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean.
Dean, a physician, published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post yesterday that the current bill "does more harm than good."
Not because, as the right argues, it goes too far with health reforms but because it doesn't go far enough, including the fact that there is no government proposed single-payer option.
The White House, through President Barack Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, fought back on MSNBC (see clip), saying Dean's conclusions are "predicated on a bunch of erroneous conclusions."
And former President Bill Clinton joined the fray, saying that failure to pass the bill would be a "colossal blunder."
But there's no doubt that the bill that once sought far-reaching reform to make sure each American had affordable health care, is being pushed more and more toward the middle to get the votes it needs to pass.
First, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, Independent from Connecticut, held the bill hostage by refusing to back it if it contained any kind of public option, including the Medicare expansion for Baby Boomers.
Now, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, Democrat from Nebraska, is saying language in the bill isn't enough to address his concerns of barring federal funding of abortions.