Is Obama winning healthcare battle?

It’s heartening to read that the GOP opposition to President  Obama’s reform of healthcare is not so much evaporating as never there in the first place

 A Bloomberg poll asked which right-wing objections people found legitimate, and which were “scare tactics.” Basically, voters rejected GOP rhetoric almost 2-to-1. About 63 percent think Sarah Palin’s “death panels” are a distortion, versus 30 percent who fear them. It’s 61 to 33 percent on the claim that health reform means government-paid abortions, 58 to 37 percent on the false claim that illegal aliens will get subsidized insurance, etc.

 However it is worrying to read that the penalties being paid by the poorer sectors of the American population – those it’s designed to help – could put them in opposition to it.

The bill as proposed by Sen. Max Baucus, Democrat,  Montana, would, it seems, “force millions of working Americans currently without coverage to spend up to 13 percent of their annual income on private health insurance policies they can’t afford.”

 Democratic bloggers boast about how brilliantly Obama schooled George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’ “This Week.” The host wondered whether a government mandate requiring people to buy health insurance wasn’t a steep tax increase. Obama argued semantics. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase.”

No, Mr. President, it’s not. Technically speaking. But it’s thousands of bucks out of the pockets of people who’ve already decided they can’t afford insurance. Sure, some are improvident deadbeats willing to take their chances, visit the emergency room as necessary, and stick everybody else with the bill. But most just can’t find the money.

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean insists that, for the bill to be effective, in must affordable to the least well off, and that means that it must include something that’s not included in its present form – a competitive public insurance plan.

 “Because it’s the only thing that works … If controlling costs, which is part of the president’s agenda, is going to happen, you have to have a public option. If you want to get some people insured by 2010, which I think is essential for the future of the Democratic Party, you have to have a public option.”

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