Of course, it's not clear what sort of revised and resubmitted reform plan Americans would support. As Philip Klein says, the public favors all sorts of health care benefits but isn't interested in any of the usual wayshigher taxes, changes to Medicareto pay for them. You could make the Weisbergian point that this desire for benefits without cost is childish, or you could say that it's basically sensiblea reasonable willingness to reckon with the cost of benefits that might otherwise sound great.
But either way, I think it shows one major reason why health care shouldn't be a centrally managed, consensus project, but instead should be left to individuals who can make their own decisions about what they're willing to pay for and what they're not.
And what if they can't afford anything because they have a pre-existing condition?
Or simply cannot afford vast jumps in premiums? Or get dropped from coverage because of some random event or suddenly discovered previous medical episode? Or lose their job and have no way to buy any insurance? I've been persuaded by the evidence in an era of astonishing medical possibility and cost that it is extremely hard to ensure that this area of the economy can work without immense cruelty and soaring costs, at this point, unless we come to some kind of collective agreement on at least basic care. And when we have already decided that no truly sick person will be turned away from an emergency ward anyway, haven't we essentially socialized this already, but in the worst, most inefficient and cruelest way possible?
It would be nice to infer all sorts of sophisticated libertarian things from this polling data, but one suspects that all this just shows that most Americans are utterly immature or woefully under-informed or simply so used to being told, from Reagan on, that they can have their cake and eat it - with a cheerful cherry on top - that adult self-government seems immensely difficult for them to wrap their emotions around.
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