Healthcare: It's the Cost, Stupid!

Democrats puzzling over the growing resistance to their universal healthcare proposal need puzzle no more.  A new Rasmussen poll provides the answer - and a golden opportunity for Republicans to stop the Dems' healthcare legislation in its tracks seize control of the healthcare debate.

The linchpin of the Democrats' plan and their main talking point in selling it is universal coverage.  But according to the likely voters who participated in the poll (emphases are mine):

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters nationwide say that cost is the biggest health care problem facing the nation today.... [J]ust 21% believe the lack of universal health insurance coverage is a bigger problem.

And that's just for starters as the rest of the poll is as, if not more, devastating (again, emphases are mine):

Only 10% believe the quality of care is the top concern, and two percent (2%) point to the inconvenience factor of dealing with the current medical system.

Given a choice between health care reform and a tax hike or no health care reform and no tax hike, 47% would prefer to avoid the tax hike and do without reform. Forty-one percent (41%) take the opposite view.

The opposition is stronger when asked about a choice between health care reform that would require changing existing health insurance coverage or no health care reform and no change from current coverage. In that case, voters oppose reform by a 54% to 32% margin.

If Rasmussen's poll is to be relied on, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf's recent testimony, that the Democrats' plan would raise healthcare costs, is even more damaging than Republicans imagined.  No wonder Congressional Democrats, especially those newly elected in conservative districts, are getting cold feet.

If the Republicans are smart (I can dream, can't I?), they will take this new poll and run with it.  They will hammer the Dems relentlessly both on the Democratic plan's cost and it's emphasis on universal coverage over containing and ideally reducing costs.

Republicans also should propose their own plan, one designed not to expand coverage, but to reduce costs.  I can think of no better place to start, no surer winner with the American people, than with a proposal McCain made, and foolishly failed to push, during the campaign.  Republicans should counter the Democrats' massive, complex, expensive plan with a single, simple, easily understood law:  that Americans be allowed to buy their health insurance from any company he chooses, from anywhere in the country.

For example:  This writer lives in New York State and, being self-employed, buys his own health insurance in that state, as New York law forces him to do, at a cost of $588.12 per month.  Meanwhile, in Tennessee, where my brother lives, a minute's worth of googling provided a range of quotes from a maximum of $298 per month to one as low as $175.

I will kiss the ring of any legislator who votes for the law that allows me to on the Internet and, with a few mouse-clicks, cut my health insurance costs in half.  And, I believe, so too would a lot of Americans.