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

Are Americans paying attention to health care debate?

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. Melissa

    Yes, most people are paying attention. The thing is... most of them are getting the wrong information because the media, and the naysayers, aren't doing their jobs and informing them of the truth.

    November 18, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Beyond Absurd

    Pass it with a strong public option. Don't let the insurance companies, drug manufacturers and DME sellers and their lobbyists string this out.
    It is a moral issue. All Americans deserve health care. We can argue about the dollars later.

    November 18, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. Bryan

    I don't understand these people saying "why should I pay for someone else who doesn't want to work". A) you don't know everyone's circumstances B) its not just about paying for everyone. The insurance companies are jacking up the cost and providing LESS insurance. You're having to pay more and more for YOURSELF while getting less coverage. You pay for other people's stuff anyway if you pay taxes. You pay for other kids to go to college anytime those kids get federal loans. "I don't want to pay for someone else" is a lame excuse. Besides, your insurance company jacks up your rates when others file claims. You're paying for other people anyway and you won't get around that. I'd rather pay for someone else but have insurance that won't bankrupt me than continue with the way things are now.

    November 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. roger

    Intelligent americans will be paying attention, but republicans and their senators probably won't, because their minds are made up and they don't want tne facts to confuse them!

    November 18, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. d. bunker

    Simple question for all you anti-reform nuts:

    Why is it that virtually all of the governments in Europe and most other developed countries can provide health care more cheaply and more effectively than the US? Our country looks pretty stupid when we can't take the positive aspects of government-sponsored health care from other countries and incorporate them into a better more effective system in the US.

    Second simple question: Since the GOP is happy to support "catastrophic insurance coverage" for things like nuclear plant construction and the airline industry, why does the GOP focus on trivialities like "tort reform" (which doesn't work) rather than create a catastrophic insurance plan for major medical conditions?

    November 18, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Carl Justus

    This is the time to pass health care reform. It cannot get any worse than it is now.
    The premiums are going up every year from 6 to 20 percent and the insurance companies are cancelling policies of people that have major surgery and have chronic illnesses.

    I have friend that had a heart attack and after he was released from the doctors his insurance cancelled him. That is what he gets for being good customer, paying his premiums on time for years and he has a small business and now is really in trouble.


    Call you senator and representative and have them to pass health care reform.

    November 18, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. cindy

    You bet I'll be watching. In South Carolina we have three Senators who were elected to represent all of the people. From what I have observed from them Demint, Wilson and Graham in my opinion is not doing such a great job. They are so negative and full of crap to it's not funny. The next election coming up for all three of them will be one of unease. I am going to everything that I can to get people out to vote to unseat these perpetrators. They don't represent me and could care less about my future. So yes, I will be watching and listening to see what other lies will be told not to help those who really need help because they already have excellent health care and doing everything in their power to keep us from having it too.

    November 18, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Bryan

    I want a public option AND Tort Reform AND the ability to buy insurance across state lines. I also want better insurance. I also want public transit and green energy. Also, anyone who smokes should pay 10x what I pay in well as anyone more than 20lbs overweight. I mean, fair is fair right?

    November 18, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Sandi from Arizona

    Yes we are watching and wondering why all the naysayers weren't on the case of the last administration that didn't even bring up Healthcare for the entire 8 years they held the presidency. Now the best they can do is yell Socialism at the top of their lungs. Hey, you had your chance and now it's no your time. Should have done it your way when you had the chance. Now you get what is proposed for Healthcare because you didn't do anything with the 8 years you all had to make it better.

    November 18, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Ron L

    Of course we are paying attention to the health care debate in the Senate. It is a very clear case of how somany of our Senators (especially) Republican are out of touch with how bad the current system is. I don't understand why the Senators that are against the Public Option trust the Health Insurance companies to reduce their rates without REAL competition. Look at what the Credit Card suppliers did when the Congress decided to give them 4 months leeway before instituting the new rules in regards to interest rates and fees? Within two months they began to DOUBLE minimum fees and INTEREST RATES to customers that were paying on time FOR YEARS!!! The large corporations in America will only change when they are forced. it's just the nature of the beast. It's goal is to make money, plan and simple. If the American public does not stay interested in this fundamental change in health insurance, we will get hoodwinked...plan and simple.

    November 18, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  11. WHAT

    The new guidelines on mammogram screenings is a glimpse of what would happen with goverment approved healthcare. That is nothing more than government preparing to start rationing. Also, would this not be discrimination.

    November 18, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Susan Warrick

    More people would be willing to have a debate about something as crucial as Health Care Reform,if the media was truly informing the public.. So many important stories received almost no attention, and so many trivial and nonsense issues have a great deal of attention. Very dangerous position to have. A misinfomred society is one that usually end up destroying itself.
    Please report real news, let's informed our people.

    November 18, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Dave

    Was health care reform a major issue 3 years ago? NO, it wasn't. It only became an issue when election season rolled around and the Democrats wanted it to be an issue.
    Does the way we PAY for Health Care need to be reformed? Yes. Does the entire system need to be controlled by the government? Absolutely not.

    The bottom line is: WE ARE BROKE. There is no money for this or anything else. Priority one is cutting costs, cutting spending, and keeping taxes low to generate jobs and revenue. How come people are so ignorant to this?

    If the Democrats REALLY wanted health care for all how come thier trillion dollar, 1000+ page bills still don't cover about 10% of the population?

    This is about the FAR left of the party taking control of something else(in this cae 1/6th of the economy) for the government. Almost everythng they have done (banks, car companies, bailouts, health care, possibly cap & trade, depleting the value of the dollar, etc...) has one goal: GOVERNMENT CONTROL. This is a massive move towards socialism through taxation and regulation.


    November 18, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The big insurance lobbyist have paid them off and I didn't get a dime for my opinion, so the answer NO, I'm not paying attention.

    November 18, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Avalon

    Makes me sad that there has to be a debate as to if our country should provide basic health care for all of its citizen and not just a select few. Shouldn't we take care of anyone who is ill? We the people in order to create a more perfect union. A combination of our heart and wallet.

    November 18, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Sean

    I'm trying, but it's hard to weed through the ridiculous rhetoric that's being spewed about it. Politicians need to understand that OUR HEALTH IS A SERIOUS ISSUE THAT DESERVES AN HONEST DISCUSSION!!!! Enough with all the politically motivated rhetoric! This isn't an issue to be used as a platform for your next campaign, it's an issue that affects the lives and well-being of every American! Stop campaigning and start governing for crying out loud!

    November 18, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Mark

    Sadly enough once Americans get Obamacare, they will be filled with anger once the "demands" go into effect.

    November 18, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. Vietnam Veteran

    Maybe if some of these jerks speak to those people who are most affected by the lack of insurance, they will find the majority of whom work or retired and can't afford insurance and as result when they are so sick are taken to emergency rooms for treatment or just die due to lack or unafordable basic medical care. These jerks rather assume the only people who will benefit from this are the poor, even if this was the case so what. This is the riches country in the world and yet ranks at the level of some of the third world country when it comes to taking care of its citizens. Maybe some of these holy than thou in this blog should spend some time visiting hospitals and speaking to medical persons who see these people dailiy. I am fortunate to have health insurance however, my premium increases annually un-check with increase out of pocket expenses every year while the jerks as in this blogs and the politicans and CFO fat cats get richer. I support all of the Senators who place the citizens of this great country first and not these self interest big doners and jerks who wear blinders.

    November 18, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |

    Anyway you slice it, this heath care reform bill will increase cost of insurance premiums for those that have insurance, while at the same time, increasing out of pocket expenses, since part of your premium will now go to fund insurance for people who don't have it. Do the math. You can't insure those without insurance without affecting those of us who do have insurance.

    November 18, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Abe

    The public is paying attention ti the heath care debate. To the Republicans I say stop putting fear in peoples mind. Vote your with your conscience and not for your political survival. Stop scaring the younger generation and do not forget there were people that voted for you who do not have heath insurance. You have the right to debate but do not be an obstacle. You guys have the best health coverage so lets think for the people who are in desperate and need to enjoy the same right as you do. This is a national issue and the time is here to come up with a comprehensive health care program for all. God bless our country.

    November 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. lovable liberal

    Despite the media's obsession with last year's minor story Sarah Palin and its constant emphasis on political tactics instead of substance, we are paying attention to this debate.

    November 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Our healthcare system is a disgrace, It makes me embarrassed to say I live in this country, that let's innoncent people die because they do not have access to health care. This is the most hypocritical unchristian country in the civilized world. That's why France, Canada and Germany not to name a few are so far ahead of us on the healt care list. France has the #1 healthcare system in the world.

    November 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Our healthcare system is a disgrace, It makes me embarrassed to say I live in this country, that let's innoncent people die because they do not have access to health care. This is the most hypocritical unchristian country in the civilized world. That's why France, Canada and Germany not to name a few are so far ahead of us on the healt care list. France has the #1 healthcare system in the world. .. USA land of selfish hypocrits.

    November 18, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    2010 and 2012 are not that far off. Anyone who wants to stay in office needs to remember that, and remember, the real polls of a REAL cross section of the real electorate WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM and DEMAND, at the very least, a Public Option.
    I already have one Representative to replace, here in UpState, NY. If he doesn't get on board with the final bill, I will campaign against him, in primaries, and in the general election, if necessary...

    November 18, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    One payor plan, that's the only way go.. So if that's socialism so is the interstate highway, jails, court house, public library, health department, fire department, police department, what a bunch of uneducated people there are in this country.

    November 18, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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