Government isn’t scary, but taxes still are

GOVERNMENT ISN’T SCARY, BUT TAXES STILL ARE…. Near the top of the list of Republican talking points on health care reform is the prospect of government playing too large a role in the system. An interesting new poll from CNN suggests it’s the wrong way to attack reform efforts.

A new national poll indicates that most Americans are receptive to having more government influence over their health care in return for lower costs and more coverage.

Sixty-three percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they would favor an increase in the federal government’s influence over their own health-care plans in an attempt to lower costs and provide coverage to more Americans; 36 percent were opposed.

The poll also suggests that slightly more than six out of 10 think the government should guarantee health care for all Americans, with 38 percent opposed.

That’s pretty encouraging. If more than six out of 10 Americans want government to have more of a role in the health care system — nice job, insurance companies — the right will need to change its focus if it hopes to derail efforts to fix the system and expand access.

The poll seems to offer conservatives a hint in this regard. Respondents were asked, “Would you prefer a health care reform plan that raises taxes in order to provide health insurance to all Americans, or a plan that does not provide health insurance to all Americans but keeps taxes at current levels?” The result: 47% would accept the tax cut as a tradeoff, 47% would not.

With that in mind, expect to hear a lot of “reform = tax increases” in the very near future.

I’m curious, though, how much the results would change if people were presented with a fuller picture of the potential tradeoff. In other words, would people concerned about taxes going up feel differently if they knew their premiums would also go down?