Friday, September 25, 2009

Hitting The Right Pressure Points

Greg Sargent is reporting that Health Care For America Now has commissioned a poll of the Blue Dogs' districts to show them that their constituents not only want health care reform but also a public option:

Health Care for America Now, the major umbrella pro-reform group, has commissioned a big new poll of 91 conservative House swing districts — including many Blue Dog and rural ones — that finds the public option has solid majority support among those voters.

poll and its accompanying memo — which is being circulated among House Dems and was sent over by a source — also send a strong warning to conservative Dems that if health care fails, the resulting damage to the President will rebound on them.

The poll, by respected Dem pollster John Anzalone, finds that 54% of these swing district voters support the public option, and makes the case that these voters emphatically don’t want a “trigger,” the compromise of choice in some quarters:

The public option shouldn’t be considered in isolation. Including a public option is essential to implementing an individual mandate. Voters also already prefer the implementation of a public option, and do not see a need for a trigger. There’s over-whelming opposition to an individual mandate when the only choices are private insur-ance, but there’s net support for a mandate when people have the choice of a public option. And swing district voters are convinced private sector healthcare has failed to make health care affordable, and prefer the public option now rather than waiting on a trigger option.

It also says that failure to get reform done will be courting disaster, and could rebound specifically on swing-district Dems as it did in 1994

Now that is good of course but as we all know the Blue Dogs aren't necessarily opposed to health care reform or a public option because of some misguided belief that their constituents are against a public option or health care reform. With that in mind there was another nugget in the polling that caught my eye.

The risks of inaction to Democrats in swing districts increases if voters perceive opposition stems from ties to the insurance industry, as 74% are concerned that the health insurance industry will have too much influence over reform.

I remember there being a lot of concern trolling back when several liberal and progressive groups went after blue dogs and ConservaDems with ads tying them to money from health insurance lobbyists. President Obama's Chief Of Staff Rahm Emanuel thought it was counterproductive among other things that can't be repeated. But it turns out that this is just the pressure point that strikes a chord with their constituents. According to this poll, the more their opposition to health care reform, a core plank of the Democratic Party, the more their constituents will turn on them.

We are on the home stretch and its time to turn up the heat on those bought and paid for Democrats in Congress. We need to let them know that if they continue on the path of opposing the public option we WILL expose them as being puppets of the health insurance industry. We have to do whatever needs to be done to make sure this bill goes through with a robust public option reflecting the will of the people, including those that live in swing districts.

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