New Maine Poll On Health Care Reform

On September 16th, Senator Max Baucus released his alternative health care reform bill.  Senator Baucus intended his bill to appeal to both those who wanted a public option and those who preferred a market based solution.  Rather than bringing sides together, the Baucus Bill has increased the divide.  The Baucus Bill pushed away one of the remaining Republican supporters, Senator Olympia Snowe.  A new poll released by Health Care for America Now and Maine People’s Alliance has recorded how fallout from the Baucus Bill has effected Mainers opinions on health care reform.

The Baucus Bill is a monster of a bill.  The summary alone is over 200 pages.  The Baucus Bill introduces “co-ops” in place of a “public option”.  Senator Snowe rejected the current version of the bill based on the taxation of “Cadillac plans”, forcing Americans without health insurance to purchase plans without helping them to do so, and no real cost lowering measures.  Senator Snowe did believe the bill did have some benefit.  “[The Bill is a move] in the right direction away from a government-run system contained in bills that have passed other Congressional committees”, said Senator Snowe.

Senator Snowe stated there was no way a bill with a public option would pass.  Abandoning the public option, Snowe believes, would restore momentum to getting some form of health care reform passed.  A new poll conducted by Lake Research Associates shows that a majority of Mainers disagree.  Of 400 likely voters polled 58% supported giving everyone the choice of a public choice option while 35% opposed.  The poll also showed that most Mainers agree with Senator Snowe on one of her reasons for rejecting the Baucus Bill.  Only 35% supported the idea of requiring uninsured to purchase private health insurance plans.  Mainers also agree with Snowe that they should not be forced to purchase health insurance without a viable alternative.  55% of those polls supported the idea of requiring uninsured to purchase insurance if a public option were also offered.

“Maine people know the health insurance system in this country is broken, and they know what needs to be done to fix it,” said Maine People’s Alliance Executive Director Jesse Graham.  “Legislation that doesn’t a strong, immediate public health insurance option isn’t true reform and wont acheive the goals of lower costs and keeping insurance companies honest.  Providing a choice of a public health insurance option is the only way that Mainers will accept being mandated to purchase health insurance.”

While Senator Snowe is not prepared to support a public option, she has issued an amendment to the Baucus Bill creating a “fallback“.  The fallback would offer an insurance plan by a non-profit government entity only if less than 95% of residents have access to a plan that costs 13% of their income or less.  Mainers polled reject the trigger option.  24% said they wanted the public health option only as a back up.

Senator Snowe will continue to do what she believes is best for Maine, that much we know.  Is the work that Senator Snowe has conducted so far going to be enough for Mainers?  The current polls say no.  Will the voices of Mainers who support a public option be strong enough to influence Senator Snowe, as well as Senator Susan Collins?  As the fight for health care reform drags on how will support for a public option hold up?  People may just get so tired of all the politics they may be ready to accept any reform.  Future polls will be telling.

(Cross-Posted @ Augusta Insider)

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2 Responses

  1. […] Maine View looked at a new Maine poll on health care, covered No On 1 developments here, here, here, and here. Maine teacher salaries were compared with […]

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