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November 18, 2013

Sea Change: Majority of Public Now Says Guaranteeing "Access" To Health Care (A Euphemism for "Taxpayers Paying for It") Is Not the Government's Responsibility

There has been a lot of chatter about the extent to which the Obamacare debacle changes the nation's philosophical attitude to the soft, easy blandishments of progressivism. Does it damage them a little, or does it more fully discredit them?

This Gallup poll seems to indicate the damage to progressivism will be heavier than some minor setback.

For years the public had been split on the issue, repeating the easy progressive line that "we owe it" to the less fortunate to shift the costs of their healthcare to our own back accounts. Much of the public went along with this... because they weren't confronted with the actual costs of their gestural support for the nice-sounding proposition.

And further, of course, Obama promised them there would be no costs to be borne at all. In fact, Obamacare would save each of them $2,500 per year.

It has long been my contention that it makes no sense to poll questions simply about the "goodies" of Obamacare, like "do you support free health care for the poor or sick." Everyone's in favor of that. Including myself.

Yes, I'm in favor of that, and so are all of you -- if we do not ask the question in connection with the costs. Of course I'd like everyone to have free health care; in fact, since we're asking about things I just want, I'd strongly prefer to live in a disease-free world where no one ever gets sick at all.

But questions of policy are only answerable in consideration of the costs. Do I favor a manned mission to Mars? You bet I do. Do I favor such a mission, if it costs $60 billion over ten years? No, I don't.

And for a polling company to ask the question without asking about my sensitivity to the cost of it, and then to report me as being in favor of it, is misleading and stupid.

You can only gauge someone's actual support for a policy by informing that person of the likely costs they'll be forced to bear to have that policy. But for four years, virtually everyone in a position of responsibility sought to hide those costs from the public.

And then they took the public's acquiescence to a policy sold has having no costs at all to them as being support of the real policy, with the real costs to be shouldered by themselves.

Well, that lie is now exposed.

So now when pollsters ask the question, the public is thinking about the costs, and saying "No, that's not the government's responsibility."

By which they mean: "No, as a taxpayer, it's not my responsibility to subsidize others with greater and greater fractions of my income."

[Added JohnE.]

Be sure not to miss the partisan breakdown of this poll, especially as it compares to 2010, which saw sweeping Republican victories in Congress.

Republicans are more or less unchanged (aside from the odd dip in 2011), but Independents have risen 6 points to 55% disapproval since the 2010 election.

Even more incredible, since Obama's inauguration in 2009, Democrats' disagreement that government should be responsible for providing healthcare to all has risen an amazing 7 points. Think about that.

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