Poll: Public Says Voice Not Heard In Health Debate

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Perhaps no other issue Congress deals with touches every American as intimately as health care. Yet a new poll by NPR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that, so far, the public feels profoundly shut out of the current health overhaul debate.

"Most people don't feel that they personally have a voice in this debate," said Mollyann Brodie, director of public opinion and survey research for the Kaiser Family Foundation. "In fact, 71 percent told us that Congress was paying too little attention to what people like them were saying."

Nancy Turtenwald is one of those people. The tourist from Milwaukee was walking around the sparkling new visitor center at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday. She was quick to agree with poll findings that the lawmakers debating the massive health overhaul bill just a few blocks away weren't much interested in problems like hers.

"I don't think they are people like us, you know?" she said. She thinks Congressional lawmakers know very little about the daily lives of the average American — and the health care costs they face. "How often do they go and buy gas and bread and stuff to see what it's really like for the people like us?"

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine--The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate

2 Comments
Posted September 30, 2009 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Dan Crawford wrote:

The poll’s results come as no surprise. The so-called health “reform”, aka the Corporate Health Insurers and Pharmaceutical Profit Maintenance and Enhancement Act, is a joke, just as the “reforms” of the Medicare Prescription Benefit Plans were a joke. This should come as no surprise since the only voices Mr. Baucus and his Republican and Democratic friends heed are voices accompanied by money for their reelection campaigns. Yesterday’s vote was a disgrace. The whole health care debate has been a joke. Unfortunately, the failure of the Congress only puts more people in financial and physical peril. And the suggestion that we fine people who can’t afford to pay the exorbitant cost of private insurance strikes me as one of the most morally corrupt and politically bankrupt ideas in the long tradition of morally corrupt and bankrupt ideas proposed by the “people’s representatives”. The notion that Congress and the Senate represent anything but their own self-interest is itself a joke. Perhaps, the Congress should abandon the nation’s finest gold-standard, federally financed insurance plan and learn what hard-working Americans have to contend with in seeking and using health-care. The actions of both parties in this debacle deserve nothing but contempt. Unfortunately, we can expect they will be reelected.

September 30, 8:11 am | [comment link]
2. Billy wrote:

#1, maybe not.  It’s hard to tell right now, but if the dropping poll numbers on the formerly wildly popular young President are any indication, this may be one of those years a’coming when an “i” in front of your name may spell trouble, regardless of the party preference.  And term limit legislation and bill to require Congress not to pass any law that doesn’t equally affect its members may be on the horizon.  I can’t remember a time when the government has had such a tin ear as it presently seems to have.  If things continue the same for the next year, an electoral revolution may occur, which may or may not be a good thing.  Inexperience has certainly not been very good in the White House, thus far.  So the same in Congress in 2010, may not be that good either.  But we’ll see.

September 30, 2:49 pm | [comment link]
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