Why Romney Is Avoiding Specifics on His Policy Ideas: No One Likes Them
September 11, 2012 | 2:46 pm
Conservatives panicking over Mitt Romney’s poll numbers want him to talk about policy in more detail, particularly when it comes to health care. Nothing would please me more. But conservatives wishing for a more honest, substantive debate might want to look at a new survey out today. The results suggest that Republican positions on Medicare and perhaps even Obamacare are less popular than I realized.
The survey is the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. Its most striking result is the primary question about Medicare reform. It asks respondents whether Medicare “should continue as it is today, with the government providing health insurance and paying doctors and hospitals directly” or whether it “should be changed to a system where the government provides seniors with a fixed sum of money they could use either to purchase private health insurance or to pay the cost of remaining in the current Medicare program.” The wording seems relatively straightforward and without terms designed to sway opinion one way or another. It says nothing about “vouchers,” for example, and it doesn’t raise the possibility that seniors might have to pay more if the system changes. But 67 percent of respondents said they preferred keeping Medicare as is, while only 26 percent said they favored the Republican reforms.
That result is consistent with other polling on the issue, as far as I know. It also makes intuitive sense, at least if you’ve ever spoken to anybody on Medicare. Policy experts, including some to the left of center, love to talk about the virtues of competition and supposed efficiency of the private insurance market. Sometimes they even make valid arguments: From a policy perspective, Medicare really does have some problems. But most seniors like Medicare just the way it is. It’s easy to use and covers pretty much every medical service they might need. Most important of all, they never have to worry it will disappear. Non-seniors can appreciate these things, too. Most of us also know what it’s like to choose from among private insurance plans and to deal with insurance company bureaucracies. That's not a lot of fun. And many of us understand what it's like to lose insurance or, at least, worry about losing it. That's not a lot of fun, either.
more: http://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/107123/ro ... are-polls#