As U.S. House Republicans move toward a repeal vote on health care reform, Democrats are launching a vigorous effort to defend the bill — an effort that seems a lot more coherent than anything they were able to muster while the bill was before Congress, or while Democratic Congressmen were before voters last November.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is offering a state-by-state analysis of what health care repeal would mean. And HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Gov. Chris Gregoire have scheduled a joint conference call to discuss how many state residents are benefitting from the reforms.
Here’s a link to HHS statistics for Washington state.
At the same time, there is evidence that health care reform is getting some grudging support in unexpected quarters. A recent AP poll showed that while opposition to it remains strong, that opposition is waning and even opponents see things they like in the complex legislation.
The AP report on poll results includes this: “Among Republicans support for repeal has dropped sharply, from 61 percent after the elections to 49 percent now.”
That’s striking. One can speculate that many conservative Republicans may be realizing that the reform bill contains benefits for them. Millions of Americans have pre-existing medical conditions that are costly to treat, and the health care reform law eventually will make it easier for them to get affordable coverage. You don’t have to be a liberal to find that prospect attractive. The Los Angeles Times has a report.
Another sign that politicians on both sides of the aisle are taking a more nuanced approach: Via Huffington Post, physician and former GOP Senator Bill Frist says his party should get beyond the repeal effort and focus on using the existing law as a platform to build a better health care system for everyone.
In red state Oklahoma, a poll in the Tulsa World indicates that many Sooners feel as conflicted on this issue as a Ron Paul supporter cashing a Social Security check. Two-thirds favored Oklahoma taking legal efforts to block the health-care reform, but only 37 percent said the entire law should be repealed. And, even among those who said the entire law should be repealed, about two-thirds then identified at least one element of it they thought should be retained.