Resurgent Republic is out with a fascinating survey suggesting the pool of Americans who purchase individual insurance is big and gettable for Republicans:
Among the total U.S. population, 5 percent (or as many as 15 million people) pay for their health insurance individually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the lead up to last year’s presidential election, 21 percent of likely voters were in the individual market. . . .Three-fourths (77 percent) of those self-insured are either very or somewhat satisfied with their plan. That’s not far off from the electorate at large where 84 percent report being very or somewhat satisfied. Therefore, the salient reason why President Obama is on the defensive regarding his “if you like it, you can keep it” pledge is not just because he misled voters. It’s because he did so on a topic where solid majorities of voters do indeed like their health plan and thereby assumed the law would not upend their coverage.
The survey also confirms that these same voters are very much concerned about cost, with a large plurality (41 percent) naming it as their top health-care concern.
And, finally, 50 percent of these voters identify as conservative and are middle-class voters with whom the GOP has done well in the past. Resurgent Republic notes, “These voters are middle-aged (nearly two-thirds between the ages of 30 and 64) with middle class incomes (60 percent earn less than $100k a year). They are predominately white (74 percent), married (65 percent), and are more likely to live in suburban (31 percent) instead of urban areas (22 percent).”
All of this confirms our suggestion that championing these voters who have been hurt by Obamacare is smart policy and smart politics. These people liked their insurance, lost it and are being told it was cruddy insurance anyway. If Republicans want to be seen as empathetic and in touch with real voters’ concerns, this is a good place to start. Moreover, this issue fits well with other ideas circulating from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and others that stress relief from high education costs, tax reform with ample child credits and reforming federal labor laws to allow flex time for working parents.
It is rare that an agenda presents itself so clearly. Republicans would be wise to set out an agenda to help ordinary Americans, beginning with protecting them from the president’s health-care plan. That, rather than an ideological argument over “government taking over health care” or an abstract fight about debt and deficits, is most likely to aid the Republicans’ revival and position them well for 2014. Gosh what a concept — policy that helps really voters.