His boss, Richard Land, misled the way. So it’s understandable that Doug Carlson of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Commission tried to extract a referendum on health reform from last week’s mid-term elections:
Aspects of health care reform faced a referendum as well. Citizens in three states—Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado—had opportunity to express their feelings on the health care law rammed through Congress. Arizona and Oklahoma each supported an exemption from the mandate that almost everyone purchase health insurance or else face a fine. A similar initiative lost in a divided vote in Colorado. Nationwide, the number of people upset over Obamacare has not budged. Exit polling by Rasmussen shows that 59 percent of voters favor its repeal.
It isn’t that simple, as this week’s Kaiser Family Foundation poll made clear. There is a majority for repeal or alteration of one aspect of the health reform legislation — the requirement that all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine — but overwhelming support for the remainder of the legislation.
Only 24% of those polled supported outright repeal of the law. The conundrum, more specifically:
Looking ahead, Americans remain divided about what lawmakers should do, with 21 percent of the public favoring expansion of the health reform law, 19 percent wanting to leave it as is, a quarter wanting to repeal parts of the law, and 24 percent wanting the entire law repealed.
Given the rising number of Americans, middle class and poor, who are without health insurance, the absence of a majority for outright repeal of the reform legislation is no surprise.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land stumbled over the heels of the exit polls to argue without foundation that in the mid-term elections, “American voters” demanded the Republicans “repeal ObamaCare.”
Land is wrong, as Dan at Bold Faith Type explained:
Edison Research’s exit polls – which are used by the Associated Press, CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox News – show that a minority of midterm voters (48%) wanted to repeal health care reform, with 31% wanting it to do more and 16% wanting to leave it as is. Furthermore, voters who turned out on Tuesday were more conservative than the country at large. Taking a wider view, a Gallup poll that was in the field last weekend showed that less than ¼ of Americans (23%) think repealing health care should be Congress’s top priority after the election.
Inattentive to the polling data, Land appeared to be instead parroting the message of right-wing strategist Richard Viguerie. Both said the voters had decided “to give the Republicans one more chance” to cut the size of government, although the polling data shows that Americans’ overarching concern is the economy.
Centers for Disease Control analysis suggests that any further health reform action should take the form of an expansion of benefits. Not repeal. As Reuters reported:
Nearly 59 million Americans went without health insurance coverage for at least part of 2010, many of them with conditions or diseases that needed treatment, federal health officials said on Tuesday.
hey said 4 million more Americans went without insurance in the first part of 2010 than during the same time in 2008.
“Both adults and kids lost private coverage over the past decade,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news briefing.
The findings have implications for U.S. healthcare reform efforts. A bill passed in March promises to get health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans who currently lack coverage.
Lack of health insurance kills at a rate of about one American every 12 minutes, Harvard Medical School researchers found.