Jindal declares the end of the health care debate

JINDAL DECLARES THE END OF THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE…. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who fancies himself something of a health care policy wonk, had an odd op-ed in the Washington Post today, arguing that the debate over reform is over. At first, I was delighted — I thought Jindal was prepared to concede that Democrats had won.

Alas, he made the opposite case. “[M]emo to Washington: The debate on health care has moved on,” Jindal wrote. “Democratic plans for a government takeover are passe. The people don’t want it. Believe the polls, the town halls, the voters.”

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This line of thinking might make Jindal feel better, but his understanding of public opinion is shaky, at best. Indeed, if policymakers should be expected to listen to the polls and the voters, the public option would be the single most popular health care reform measure in Washington right now.

For that matter, consider this chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation, released last week. What its research showed was that national support for reform — far from being “passe” — improved in September. A majority want reform passed now, and believe the country would be better off if reform proposals become law. As Kevin Drum noted the other day, “Republicans took their best shot at sinking healthcare reform over August, but it turns out that public support for their position was sort of a like a convention bounce: sharp but short-lived. ”

What’s more, Chris Good reminds us that the polls also show that “Americans think Obama has better ideas on health care than Republicans in Congress: the NY Times/CBS poll showed Obama beating congressional Republicans 52-27 on that question, which probably means the Democratic Party’s ‘Party of No’ attack on the GOP is sticking.”

Memo to Jindal: The debate on health care hasn’t gone as well as you think it has.