A new CBS News Poll found that a majority of Americans (51%) want Congress to pass a health care bill with a public option:
WHAT KIND OF HEALTH CARE BILL SHOULD CONGRESS PASS?
One WITH a public option 51%
One WITHOUT a public option 16
No bill at all 26
Only a very small slice of the American electorate (16%) would prefer Congress pass a health care bill without the public option. If Democrats try to cater to this very small minority, they seriously risk alienating their base. The overwhelming majority of self-identified Democrats (72%) want Congress to pass a health care bill with a public option.
Interestingly, the public option is significantly more popular than the idea of passing an overall health care reform bill with a public option. 61% of people favor the government offering a the choice of a public option, which would compete with private insurance companies, to people who are currently uninsured. This is similar to how the public option is currently constructed in the House bill. It would only be available to individuals on the new exchange. The exchange at first would only be for individuals who are uninsured, self-insured, and work for a small business.
The poll implies that there are are at least some people who don’t want Congress to pass an overall health care reform bill with a public option, but would still favor Congress only creating a public option. The public option remains one of the most popular aspects of health care reform. It is clearly less controversal among the American people than the idea of health care reform itself.