Constituents seem disenchanted with Congress’s health care reform proposals

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Where is the constituency for health care reform? Is Congress trying to legislate a need that the public does not agree exists? It may seem that way, but I wouldn’t go that far.

Only the most determined naysayers would agree with the proposition that the status quo on health care is acceptable and sustainable. (We certainly believe in health care reform and have been working toward it for over three years – come see our proposals at www.nrf.com/healthcare.) But some professional naysayers continue to insist that NRF says “no” to everything, too. It’s true we say “nay” to bad reform proposals, but we also say “yea” to fixing comprehensively what needs to be fixed in health care. We don’t bobble our head in both directions, as true leadership requires firm convictions.

New polling data from BIGresearch, a firm that NRF works with regularly but did not partner with on this survey, suggests that the American people are far from convinced that Congress’ health care agenda matches their own needs. According to the survey, more than half of Americans (56%) believe that $1 trillion-plus is too much to pay for health care reform. Nearly half of all Americans (49.1%) believe that Congress is rushing too fast to complete reform. Ultimately, 41.1% believe that the current reform proposals will make American health care worse, not better. This is hardly a ringing endorsement!

When bills cost more than a trillion dollars, when they intricately address (attack?) the health care system (1/6th of the economy) in thousand-page plus bills, when it takes full-day seminars just to explain the bill to the Democratic Caucus in Congress, shouldn’t Congress just press the “reset” button and start over? It is only good to hurry if they get reform right.

Here’s a thought: If Congress would take a surgical approach to health care reform, carefully fixing what needs to be fixed and excising what needs to be removed, I’d wager they would find greater approval among the general public. If that happened, NRF would be out in front to help lead the parade in support of targeted health reform.

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