November 18th, 2009
11:39 AM ET
11 years ago

Are Americans paying attention to health care debate?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/11/18/health.care.senate.americans/t1larg.senators.gi.jpg caption="Key players on health care include, from left, Sen. Max Baucus, Sen. John Rockefeller, Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Chris Dodd."] Washington (CNN) - November and December tend to be a typically slow time for Congress as it wraps up business before a new session begins.

But not this year.

The Senate is expected to soon return to health care reform, the legislative lightning rod of 2009. Most analysts expect it to be an engaging debate.

But will Americans be paying attention as they carve the Thanksgiving turkey and shop for the holidays?

Analysts say yes - and that Americans are more tuned in than ever.

"I do think the audience for this debate will go beyond 'inside baseball,' though it won't extend beyond the already politically engaged electorate," says Frances Lee, a political scientist with the University of Maryland. "I would expect this debate to be equally engaging, though it will also be far longer."

Lee says the Senate debate is "sure to draw a big audience by the normal standards for such things."

It's a point with which Senate Historian Donald Ritchie agrees.

"I think what's been unusual about the health care debate is that the public has been following it from the very beginning," he says. "They've actually been watching it going through the committee systems, through the markup systems."

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Filed under: Health care
soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. terry,va

    Just one look at a picture says a thousand words. Would you trust your children or grandchildren to those guys? That is what we are talking about. The heck with the illegal aliens and those that get knocked up and expect us to pay for it.

    November 18, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. db

    Health what debate?

    November 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Bed time for Raygun

    Single payer is the way,these health insurance companies are worse than unions and people born in the south.

    November 18, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Fitz in Texas

    You bet we're watching. The folks that vote for this healthcare will be throwing the American people under the bus and in 2010 and 2012 it will be pay back time.

    November 18, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. LacrosseDad

    NO to socialism...can't wait to vote the Democraps out in 2010.

    November 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. barbara

    ive been watching it and reading all about it. it is in my opinion that everything that one does or does not do in life will be regulated by the government if this health care bill passes. the bill is not about the health of the people, its about taking control of people's lives and that is why nancy and the dems are pushing so hard to make it happen. it will also give the government control of 46% of this country's wealth if we then pass this bills. whats wrong with asking for tort reform? why cant we buy insurance across state lines? in case you werent listening or watching, these things are not part of the bill but would greatly reduce costs and would allow more poeple to access insurance. guess because its not sa dems idea, that it shouldnt even be considered? thats because its not about you and me its all about control over your life and moine so yes i will listen, i will watch i will read and i will send emails to my congressional reps. you should do the same.

    November 18, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. terry,va

    Let's continue the discussion.....why should I pay for others that refuse to work or are too sorry to work. I don't want to hear you whine about not being able to get a job.or health care Remember most of you voted for Obummie. Maybe that is why you are for the bill and all his handouts!!!

    November 18, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. revolution

    we are watching and taking names of each Senator that votes for the Healthtax bill. They will in turn be voted out of office.

    November 18, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Marry

    Everyone should be very interested and follow the health care debate! You get a chance to vote in 2010! And then nobody should let the GOP get away with their NO to benefit the American people.
    Among the many very important reasons to get going on a comprehensive health care reform is also exactly the money the republicans are moaning about and that “future generations” supposedly will have to pay for. Very wrong!!!!! This and future generations will save a lot and have much more available health care than without a good reform (public option). You do not believe this? Look at all the other industrial countries in the world with excellent health care at half the cost! Why? Because they do not have the insurance industries that suck all the money out of the system. Everyone that has become really sick and got ditched and has to pay the astronomical bills bankrupting them will love the new and level playing field!

    November 18, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves,and pray,and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2 Chron. 7 S Callahan

    First thought is that the Holiday meals are going solidfy the stance for or against health care (shared opinions/digesting with family members whatever info is understood or not)....It really should quake those that are suppose to be representing their communities. Who knows, during the family gathering they may be making protest posters as a family project. 🙂

    November 18, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Rush,the carnival barker

    They are selling us down the river to the insurance companies.Baucus should be fed to the lions,along with the liar Rush Limburger.

    November 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Jeff

    I am paying attention, and as such find myself pondering a lot about our leaders.
    I very much want to believe that they are indeed intellegent people. They are mostly lawyers, which requires above average intellengce (if not morality). I also want to believe that they have our best interests in mind – not just health, but maintaining our freedoms as well.

    On the other hand, there are so many propositions and comments coming from them that make me wonder about the former. It is like they have no idea how businesses operate, what insurance is, or how contracts work. ('insurance' must provide routine treatment; pay for unlimited treatment but not base rates on conditions already had by the patient; and cover everything just because it's medical – contracts believe it or not identify the rights and responsibilities of each party.)

    So it becomes to me whether they really aren't that intellegent or are knowingly acting in ways that won't work.

    November 18, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Ree from Canada

    I laugh at some of these comments. how much would it cost you Americans to have the following.....MRI, ECO test for the heart and CT scan?

    For us up here all we have to do is show our Health Card and we get the care we need. It is nice knowing that I can have these test done to ensure I am healthly and not have to worry about how much they cost.

    November 18, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. mjm

    Pay attention? How can we not pay attention? the Dems aren't paying attention to us. Nobody wants this bill.

    This is the worst bill ever. It will destroy jobs, health care, and the nation.

    Medicare covers 44 million and its going broke right before our eyes.

    We can't cover the cost of 300 million. It CAN'T BE DONE.

    We already have an insurance industry. We don't need the government to create one. That's not their job.

    They need to stop this before it's too late.

    (And 44000 will still die w/o ins with the Pelosi bill...Grayson)

    November 18, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Annirich

    Health Care is NOT a RIGHT. It is a purchased service the same as car insurance, house insurance or anything else. There is a cap on the amount you can use. Nobody who walks into an emergency room is denied care. To upset a system and debt plunge our country for 15% of people is NOT the responsible thing to do. Just another take-over-control-of-the-people welfare move.

    November 18, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Spirit of America

    If this was health care reform instead of deform, we'd pay attention and applaud. Since it is nothing but another version of corporate welfare, we are sick and tired of all the empty promises.

    November 18, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. annie s

    This American is paying attention. Access to affordable health care should be the right of all citizens. While the House bill is a poor compromise on the pubic option (hey naysayers, did you know it would only be available to the self employed and individuals), it's a step in the right direction and the Senate needs to come on board. We must pass significant reform NOW. 44,000 Americans dying annually because of lack of insurance or because of rationing by the for-profit insurers needs to stop. We are better than this!

    November 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    Republican followers are so easily manipulated by their TV idols they are now afraid of everything!? Even afraid of their own best interest.
    But the rest of us are paying close attention to the President and Democrates efforts to make health care better, and the Repubs endless efforts to make the President and US fail.
    Can't wait for the mid-term and 2012 elections.
    Palin/Cheney 2012

    November 18, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. MARK

    YES, we are and we are paying atention of all of Obama's and Pelosi's MISTAKES!!!!

    November 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Tom L

    I am no conspiracy theorist but it certainly I do find it curious that we are all of the sudden told that this expensive procedure is not necessary for women in their 40's. Does this sound like a cost-cutting decision or is it me?

    November 18, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. sammieb51

    Ya know, I have 'relatives' who are a mix of uninsured, on SSI, municipal retirement programs, and disability. It is pitiful they advocate for the removal and end of all "entitlement programs", and are against this "socialistic" bill - there is real irony in all this....

    I recently found out one of them is actually insured under another relative's business policy, even though they have never worked a day for that company. Also reported fraudulent income for this same 'uninsured' and sued over a fender bender they weren't hurt in - all forms of insurance fraud. But since they are right wing nuts, that is probably OK. Anyone else did it, they would want them in jail.

    November 18, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. johnrj08

    If Americans are "tuning out" of health care reform, it is because the Democratic Party has proven to be as obstructive and corrupt as the Republican Party. Now, we have a Pro-Choicer trying to derail reform with an anti-abortion amendment which clearly undermines Roe vs Wade as the law of the land. Most people I know are just fed up with the lack of leadership in the Senate and the corruptness of the system which allows large corporations to purchase the votes of senators in broad daylight. When you add all of the partisan misinformation being ubiquitous on cable television, it is no wonder that the public has become even more cynical about the chances of any real reform to a system that is among the worst in the free world.

    November 18, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  23. mark

    when will Americans get over their sense of entitlement, under this bill you want sucessful individuals to foot the bill for your healthcare, whatever happened to individual responsibility...

    November 18, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Dave

    We should pay attention. The bill is expected to cost billions of dollars and still will not cover everyone as anticipated. I say we reform the system through new insurance regulations and let people keep their private insurance. It makes no sense to say we will increase competition when the private sector will be forced out of business in this area! Pay attention America – this is your future!

    November 18, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Richp

    I figured the mid week turnout we had down in DC a couple of weeks ago might have given them a clue, it looked pretty crowded from where I was standing and not bad for only 3 days notice. But then those pushing the bill, Pelosi in particular, were busy hiding out of sight of the crowds. The kicker was when Kanjorski told us he would vote the way HE wanted and not how his constituents wanted.
    For you PRO billers, lets see a turnout mid week in the same three days we had to organize.

    November 18, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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