USA Today/Gallup Poll: There Is Too Much Government Involvement In Health Care - And We Need More Government Involvement

One of the problems with policy polling in this country is that regular Americans simply don't understand policy--which is often not their fault. Some pieces of legislation, like the recently enacted health care law, are so complex, I doubt a majority of professional Washington DC journalists fully understand it. It seems people latch on to buzz phrases like “too much government” without really thinking through what that means while, at the same time, actually believing something quite opposite.

Take, for example, the new USA Today/Gallup Poll:
Do you think the health care legislation: (percentage who said “yes”)

Will expand government's role in health care too much: 65%
Should include a public option: 52%
Doesn't go far enough in regulating the health care industry: 51%

These are some pretty amusing findings. At minimum, 16-17% of the country believes the new health care law will expand the government's role in health care too much, but also want the government to do more to regulate the health care industry and be more directly involved by offering a government-run insurance option. There really is a significant part of the country that wants to expand the role of government in health care while, at the same time, complaining that the role of the government in health care has been expanded too much.

While Republicans have managed to raise fears about some nefarious “government takeover of health care” in general, it appears Americans actually want more government involvement that will protect them from the worst practices of the private health insurance industry. I think this poll is a great example of how Democrats managed to completely lose the messaging war on a macro level, while progressives actually won the battle of public opinion on the issues like a public option and tougher health insurance regulations.

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