A Concise Explanation For Why Americans Ain’t Buyin’ What President Obama Is Sellin’ On Health Care

To little avail, I tried explaining why Health Care Reform scares Americans on Bloggingheads the other day. While, Democrats haggle over the details of health care reform, they’re ignoring how the entirety of the bill feels like to the American people. Rasmussen sums it up, with data:

Why can’t the president move the numbers? One reason may be that he keeps talking about details of the proposal while voters are looking at the issue in a broader context. Polling conducted earlier this week shows that 57% of voters believe that passage of the legislation would hurt the economy, while only 25% believe it would help. That makes sense in a nation where most voters believe that increases in government spending are bad for the economy.

When the president responds that the plan is deficit neutral, he runs into a pair of basic problems. The first is that voters think reducing spending is more important than reducing the deficit. So a plan that is deficit neutral with a big spending hike is not going to be well received.

But the bigger problem is that people simply don’t trust the official projections. People in Washington may live and die by the pronouncements of the Congressional Budget Office, but 81% of voters say it’s likely the plan will end up costing more than projected. Only 10% say the official numbers are likely to be on target.

As a result, 66% of voters believe passage of the president’s plan will lead to higher deficits and 78% say it’s at least somewhat likely to mean higher middle-class taxes. Even within the president’s own political party there are concerns on these fronts.

Americans just don’t believe a big government program saves money. Americans are smart. There is no evidence in the history of the universe that government programs are cost-saving ventures. And, if they do save money, they do it by cutting, denying or restricting services.

Here’s another problem, probably 10-20% of the voters all in favor of this plan already use government services. Of course another “free” government program sounds good to them. They won’t be paying for it. Meanwhile, those opposed are seeing their own taxes going up for a product that is bound to be crappy. Or, that’s how they picture it anyway.

Go to your local VA Hospital. Americans ain’t stupid.

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