Polling suggests that at least 9 of every 10 voters in November will be insured. Many will not see universal coverage as a matter of self-interest. The complex economic argument that the uninsured impose hidden costs on everyone else may be difficult to convey in sound bites.
And the electorate may be less receptive than participants in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. A December poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 42 percent of Democrats said their top health policy concern was expanding coverage for the uninsured, while 35 percent said it was reducing costs. The priorities flipped when Republicans and independents were added to the mix, with 41 percent of all polled saying they cared most about reducing costs and 31 percent citing coverage for the uninsured.
This is consistent with polling that I have read over the last six years. When you add in the vested interests involved in the debate surrounding any new legislation, it might explain why it is so difficult to generate a political consensus at the national level on these issues and why no President since Bill Clinton has really tried to do anything significant in this arena.
What do you think? I am not asking you whether you think there should be legislation, so please don't offer a speech on that topic. I am asking whether you think there will be strong political pressure resulting from the general election -- even if a Democrat wins -- to provide the impetus major legislation would need to move forward.