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Pizza and public health

Posted by Larissa Dalton 7:46 p.m. Oct. 20, 2009 803 views No Comment Print This Post Print This Post

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., received an order for a public health option today — via “pizza delivery.”

About 20 Columbia residents, partnered with Grass Roots Organizing and Health Care for America, had 328 signed cards demanding that a public option be included in overall health care reform. Members of GRO had been collecting these cards since Saturday and today staged their delivery, complete with a pizza box, delivery woman and a delivery car.

Just like any political rally, this one was complete with signs, stickers and chants. As they walked to McCaskill’s office, one woman gave a thumbs up from her car and another vehicle honked their horn.

The demonstration is one of many around the country today and comes when  the administration has been downplaying the necessity of a public option in recent weeks. Interestingly enough, support for a public health insurance program may be growing; even more interesting, this could continue with a simple label change.

Last week, Ron Rosenbaum wrote in an article posted on Slate.com that the term “public option” is a “near-meaningless, certainly contentless, two-word phrase that has done more damage to the fate of meaningful health care reform than its reviled two-word counter-framing rival, death panels.”

A poll released today by The Washington Post and ABC News asked respondents if they would “support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?” Fifty-seven percent said they would support it, while 40 percent said they would oppose it. The same question asked in September had 55 percent in support and 42 percent against; in August 52 percent supported, while 46 percent were against it.

What is important to recognize in this study is the wording: the question does not use the term “public option.” Also important is the slight rise of support and decline of opposition. This could be because of the change in terminology.

Or it could be because the public option is looking like it’s slipping off the table.

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