As healthcare reform prepares to either die down or get severely watered down, the WSJ has a useful history of the recent push to change the healthcare system.
The key point is that Democrats have known for A Long Time that the public would not be receptive to the current proposals, even if they weren’t happy with the existing system.
A group called the Herndon Alliance — a coalition of liberal health-care groups, unions and patient-advocacy groups created in late 2005 — was only a few months into its work planning a health-insurance overhaul by the time it asked focus groups what they thought of the idea of a government-run plan to compete with private ones.
The public-option was an article of faith for many in the alliance, but the focus groups’ reactions were sobering. scepticism ran high. The chief worry: Giving access to inexpensive government insurance to America’s 46 million uninsured would boost costs, or reduce care, for those who were already insured.
When pollsters told the advocacy groups the public option probably wouldn’t fly, they were told to paper over the problem with a better “message,” according to a participant in the project.
But obviously they never got a better message, and as we’ve noted several times, The White House made the mistake of letting reform opponents define the debate.
Still, to get blindsided with so much advanced warning — arguably 15-years worth, given the Hillarycare debacle — reeks of amateur hour. The one justification is if they thought Obama’s political skills were so amazing, that everything else would fall into place, but obviously this was a grave miscalculation.
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