A new Washington Post poll apparently shows that people want Congress to keep looking for a way to pass comprehensive health care reform. The graphic is rather striking:
This does not mean that the public wants Congress to pass any of the current bills, though we don't know yet, since the Post seems to be dribbling out the numbers over a few days. But I'll be surprised if they get more "ayes" than "nays" on passing HCR in its current form, which hasn't happened since Kaiser got a 42% favorable a month ago. No, I'm betting that what the public, God bless 'em, really wants is for Congress to go back and find a fairy bill that covers a bunch of people, doesn't cost anything, offends no popular special interests, and generates broad bipartisan support. While they're at it, I want a pony. And a sous vide machine.
So will Congress keep searching for this miracle piece of legislation? That depends, I think, on how strong this preference is to have them "keep on truckin' " on a health care bill. As I've observed a zillion times, almost everything polls well in isolation. Of course the public wants Congress to try to clean up the uglier bits of our health care system. But does the public want Congress to use its finite energy on creating a new health care bill more than it wants that same legislative effort expended on jobs, banking regulation, or the economy? All the other polls I've read say "no".
Update: Yup, they may want Congress to move forward, but not on the plans currently on the table.