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. Ron in California

    The problem isn't that Americans aren't paying attention to the Health Care Bill. The problem is that Congress isn't paying attention to their consituents. These guys are putting forth their own agenda. It is such a shame that ELECTED officials are allowed to go their own way. It is a disgrace how these people are ignoring us. Pelosi and Reid need to go.
    The only pentalty they will pay is for us to vote them out of office.

    November 18, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. JP

    I thought the decision on Afghanistan was much more important than trying to rush down an ill conceived health care bill by last Aug. Skewed priorities?

    November 18, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Pam from Iowa

    Oh, we are paying attention!

    In particular to those who like to spout lies and misrepresentations of what is in the bill!

    For instance, it is very obvious that Sarah Palin either can't read or is just too ignorant to understand big words!

    November 18, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Buffalo Bill

    2000 plus pages of gobblydegook.....does anyone really think this Health Care Reform is not about government "control", and the creation of yet another permanent entitlement? Also, reading the U.S. Constitution, which has considerably fewer pages, I don't see where the government can mandate citizens MUST purchase any product or service!

    November 18, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. bob

    Reid,Pelosi and Waxman hope people really dont follow this or god forbid read the bills. What they want is their left wing base stirred up. They know the way to do that is promise more government and more government hand outs for people that wont take control of their own lives or financial futures. Look at who supports this- the union leaders! even though they have managed to keep their high priced health care policies off limits to being touched or taxed. Tax the people that work hard and maybe someday all that will be left is the unemployed looking for handouts

    November 18, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Anne

    Well if people weren't paying attention before, they should be now since this is the time of year when companies let their employess know about changes to the benefits for next year. I just sat through mine and saw that our premiums were being increased by 21%, most of which is being passed down to the employees. I guess a $1 billion profit in Q3 2009 wasn't enough of a profit for United Health Care and they need more so they can pay out their big bonuses. Wake up people, this isn't a republican vs. democrat issue it's a corporation vs. people issue and we should stop letting policiticans scare us into believing that they are looking out for our best interests.

    November 18, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. g ontario

    americans got a better chance of getting another war health care no

    November 18, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Caesar the Great

    By definition a debate is:
    1.A discussion involving opposing points; an argument.
    2. Deliberation; consideration: passed the motion with little debate.
    3. A formal contest of argumentation in which two opposing teams defend and attack a given proposition.
    4.Obsolete Conflict; strife.

    We all know that a discussion isnt happening so 1 is out. Consideration of others isnt going to work so 2 is out. 3 is a good possibility, but Im supporting 4. Make this bill OBSOLETE and save the taxpayers.

    November 18, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Dave

    Anyone with a brain will recognize that both republicans and democrats have made massive mistakes in the last four decades. However, the democrats are only adding to the deficits and debt that were increased under Bush. I believe Romney has the skills to turn things around for the better. He is much more qualified that President Obama!

    November 18, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. wait a minute

    Of course, we will every day before the health reform bill is passed with a real public option.

    November 18, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We most certainly are paying attention. I , for one, am most interested in knowing who is blocking any attempts to get this legislation passed from BOTH sides of the aisle. I am extremely active in phone banks directed at legislators in Md. and DC, as well as registered voters in the tri-state area. If this bill does not go through, believe me, it won't be through lack of trying on the part of concerned citizens and the political repercussions to local politicians will be felt at the polls.

    November 18, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Mike in MN

    The Pelosi bill out of the House is a disaster. It does not live up to the promise to keep costs under 900 billion as amendments were added to it to push it over a trillion. It also now adds to the deficit instead of reducing it as originally billed.
    The Senate bill being crafted behind closed doors by Reid will be not better. If the Senate is dumb enough to pass it, the bill that comes out of the merger of the House bill and Senate bill will be even worse than either of them.
    Only Blue Dog Democrats can stop this monster from being unleased on the American people. If they do not stop it then voters will vote for Republicans in 2010 and 2012 who will promise to dismantle it.

    November 18, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Tina

    I've lost interest in the debate. I have heath insurance through my employer so I'm not interested in a public option. I have no faith in policians to do the right thing. Instead of reigning in the insurance companies, the politicians want to put more limits on the kind of coverage people can get.

    November 18, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Obamalot

    They should be. I think most Americans will finally realize what happenend in early 2011. That is when they will be filling out personal income tax forms and they are going to be in for a BIG surprise!

    November 18, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. Debby

    We are not watching or interested. Affordable health care without a price in front of it is scary. We will stick to our insurance where we are guranteed great medical care.

    November 18, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Gary

    We are worn out and sick about the Democrats crazy expensive healthcare plans. We don't want them. We don't want the public option. We can't afford them either. But the Dems are ramming them through and it seems like the only thing that we can do is vote them out of office and undo their mess after the next election. Ugh, why did we put these people into power! They are damaging our country.

    November 18, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Bear

    This has been the perfect storm of broken campaign promises for our leading baby kissin politician and campaigner in chief. No transparency, no bipartisanship, wasteful spending, no listening to the people, not allowing the people to see the costs or the bill before they vote, not reading every line.

    Obama is already preparing his exit strategy for 2012 in case this whole mess blows up if it passes. Like one poster wrote a while ago, if you slap a cover page on the phone book with the title Obama Healthcare, he would sign it just to say he signed it. He is not interested in the content or the damage. Just the next campaign he can spin.

    November 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. SocialismBad

    The Public Option is nothing but another massive government power grab of an entire industry and every US citizens health and well being. When somebody shows me ONE SINGLE government program that is well run, solvent and efficent, I will consider it. But in over 200 years, the government has never succeeded to do this ONCE. I am not about to let my healthcare be held hostage to a bunch of lying criminal politicians.

    November 18, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. jlw

    Why should we pay for insurance for illegals and people who refuse to work. In a perfect world everyone would have healthcare but we don't live in that world. When families are struggling and the countries debt is so high, why is the US trying to pass a bill that will further burden the American people and put the country even further into debt.

    November 18, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. m jeff

    Yes, we are paying attention, and we want more options when it comes to Healthcare. That is why we need a public option, because private Insurance is run by criminals.

    November 18, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. Reformed Republican

    If Health Care was a true "debate", it would be a no-brainer for congress to immediatley effect laws and programs that end the deaths of 40,000+ Americans each year, provide a meaningful public option safety net for those that can't get or at some point will lose coverage and enable regulations that result in cost reductions over the next 10 years.

    But no, instead we have GOP obstructionists, Talibangelical moralists and right wing political grifters turning it into political gamesmanship as a means of paying off their big industry contributors and getting back into power.

    Here's the real debate – Why can't the GOP, republicans,Teabaggers and so-called "Christians" and evangelicals get on board with saving lives and improving medical security for ALL Americans instead of pushing their political agendas?

    Are the mainstream Democrats and progressives the only ones really committed to living AND practicing the Golden Rule?

    November 18, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Dean

    Yes I'm watching and Yes I want a public option Yes I want to see the Cigna's and UHC's suffer greatly from this bill and lower my rates or be forced out of business.

    November 18, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. me

    Never vote incumbent again. If this bill doesn't pass, I, a dyed in the wool Dem., will NEVER vote Dem again. Term limits for Senators. They'ar all a gaggle of stooges who are there for the lobbyists, not the American people, I don't care who or what party affiliation. Toss 'em!

    November 18, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Mark in Tennessee

    I believe Americans don't trust the corporate cronies in Congress to revamp anything. If they do it will be written by special interests and big business to benefit themselves. Republicans and Democrats care about two things... getting even richer from their corporate sponsors, and getting re-elected.

    It's time to stop voting for these two-faced politicians. It's time for a viable third party.

    November 18, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. precious

    Every step of the way!

    November 18, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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