A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, April 26, 2015

3 Things Religion Does Well


Most Religious People Support Legal Same-Sex Marriage


This chart was made from the 2014 survey of 40,000 Americans during 2014 by the Public Religion Research Institute -- and it will probably come as a shock to many of the religious bigots in this country. It turns out that they are a small and diminishing minority in the United States, even among the religious. Most religious (and non-religious) Americans support the legalization of same-sex marriage.

I list the 16 major religious groups in the United States in the chart above. It turns out that only 6 of those groups don't have majority support for legalizing same-sex marriage, and even those groups have many supporting it -- including over a fourth of evangelicals and mormons, more than a third of Black and Hispanic protestants, and more than four out of 10 muslims.

The majorities in those 6 groups want Americans to think they represent religious thought in this country, and that most religious people agree with them. But that simply is not true -- and they should have learned that from the recent outrage over the bigoted "religious freedom" laws they have tried to pass (which have nothing to do with religious freedom, and everything to do with trying to establish an unconstitutional right to discriminate).

The other 10 religious groups in the United States (accounting for most American citizens) all have at least 55% of their membership support same-sex marriage. That support ranges from 55% to 94%. Clearly, the bigots do not speak for most Americans, most religious people, or even most christians.

Religious Greed

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Does Clinton Need Primary Competition? Most Dems Say No


Hillary Clinton is the only Democrat to officially declare as a candidate for president -- at least so far. And she leads any other potential candidates by a very large margin in all of the polls. But some, mainly my cohorts on the left, want someone else to enter the race. Some don't think Clinton is liberal enough, and others just think a competitor would be good because it would create more debate on the issues and give Democrats a choice.

I disagree. I don't think Clinton needs a competitor. She's more liberal than many on the left think, and far more liberal than anyone the Republicans could nominate. And keeping those Republicans out of the White House is the most important concern in the 2016 election. Clinton doesn't need a Democrat to debate -- she'll be busy debating the crazy views of the Republicans. And it looks like most Democrats agree with me.

The YouGov Poll questioned a random sample of national Democrats between April 18th and 20th, and they found that about 3 out of 4 Democrats (74%) would be satisfied if Clinton remained the only Democratic candidate for their nomination. I think most of think feel that she has paid her dues and deserves her chance to run -- and that she represents the best chance we have to keep an extremist Republican out of the White House.

And it does look like the Republicans would like to nominate an extremist. So far, only three candidates have declared they are running for the GOP nomination -- and they are all far right extremists (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio). And that is fine with most Republicans (which is scary). About 69% of Republicans said they would be satisfied if those were the only candidates to be in their primary.



Drone Strikes

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

Bernie Speaks Out In Defense Of Social Security

Here is the latest missive from the inimitable Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). I agree with every word of it. Bernie says:

At a time of massive wealth inequality, when 99% of all new income generated in this country goes to the top 1%, and when over half of the American people have less than $10,000 in savings, the last thing we should do is cut Social Security.

When the average Social Security benefit is $1,328 a month, and more than one-third of our senior citizens rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income, our job is to expand benefits, not cut them.

Despite what some of my Republican colleagues have said, Social Security is not going broke. It has a $2.8 trillion surplus and can pay every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 18 years.
The best way to make Social Security solvent for the next 50 years is to scrap the cap on taxable earnings. 

Today, a Wall Street CEO who makes $18 million a year pays the same into Social Security as someone earning $118,500. That's absurd. If we simply applied the payroll tax on income above $250,000, not only could we extend Social Security's solvency until 2065, we could also increase benefits to meet the elderly's higher living expenses.

Despite the logic behind that, some Republicans want to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 and reduce benefits. I wonder what world these people are living in. To take benefits away from seniors now is simply a continuation of the war being waged by the Republican Party against the elderly, against the children, against the sick and against the poor, in order to benefit millionaires and billionaires.

Yes. Republicans, Democrats and Independents should work together. We should work to rebuild the disappearing middle class, create millions of jobs, reduce childhood poverty and make sure the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations pay their fair share in taxes. But we shouldn't make the lives of millions of Americans worse by cutting Social Security.

Such a "compromise" may make sense to CEOs on Wall Street and wealthy campaign contributors; it does not make sense to me.


Stand with me today and call on Congress to scrap the cap and use the increased revenues to expand, not cut Social Security.

Thank you,
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

Drug-Free Society ?

Political Cartoon is by Signe Wilkinson in the Philadelphia Daily News.

If There Is A God. . .


Saturday, April 25, 2015

We Get The Tyranny We Allow


GOP Governors Wanting To Be President Have Failed At Job Creation In Their Own States


After losing the 2012 election for the White House, several Republican governors were touted as the hopes for 2016 -- Rick Perry (Texas), Sam Brownback (Kansas), Chris Christie (New Jersey), Scott Walker (Wisconsin), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), and John Kasich of Ohio. Perry has not been able to get any traction at all, probably due to the criminal case that is still pending against him. Brownback is also out of the running, because the Kansas economy has become a national joke.

The other four still seem to think they have a chance to become president. They shouldn't. They have all done serious economic damage to the states they govern by trying to impose the GOP's "trickle-down" economic theory (the idea that giving more to the rich by cutting their taxes will help everyone). That silly policy has failed on the state level just as badly as it did one the national level.

They claimed their policy would create new jobs, and put millions back to work. But as the chart above shows, they have done a worse job of job creation than in other states, and fall significantly below the national average. One would have thought they would have learned from their disastrous terms as governors, but they haven't. They still support the same GOP economic policies that damaged the nation and their individual states.

None of these men deserve an opportunity to serve as our president. They have learned nothing, and their policies would do nothing but lower the job creation average of the entire nation -- doing to all states what they have done to their own.

The numbers above are from an article by Paul Rosenberg at Salon.com.

Monument

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Public Trusts Obama & Dems More Than GOP On Economy


This is from a new Gallup Poll -- done between April 9th and 12th of a random national sample of 1,015 adults, with a 4 point margin of error. The chart shows that people trust the president more than anyone else to do the right thing to fix the economy (with a 12 point edge over Republican leaders). Other Democratic leaders also are trusted more than the Republicans (by a 6 point margin). Those are significant margins, being more than the poll's margin of error.

The public seems to understand that it was the Republicans that trashed the economy -- resulting in stagnant worker wages, a shrinking middle class, millions of unemployed people, and a wealth/income gap between the rich and the rest that is larger than at any time since before the Great Depression (and is still growing).

And to make things even worse, the Republican solution to our economic woes is just more of the same economic policy that caused the mess in the first place -- more deregulation of financial industry, more tax cuts for the rich and the corporations, more offshoring of good American jobs, and significant cuts to the programs that help hurting Americans.

It has become obvious that the Republicans have no solution to fix the economy, and they know it. But it doesn't matter to them, because they long ago sold out to the rich and the corporations -- and those are the only entities that they care about. They will obstruct any attempt to create a fair and prosperous economy -- and that is why they must be voted out of power in 2016.

Caution

Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The New "Flexible" Economy Is Hurting American Workers

This comes as no surprise to me. It seems that corporate America has found a new way to take advantage (i.e., abuse) their workers. The following post is by Robert Reich (pictured) on his own blog, and it shows that workers not only need new and stronger unions, but also some new laws to protect them. Reich says:

These days it’s not unusual for someone on the way to work to receive a text message from her employer saying she’s not needed right then. 
Although she’s already found someone to pick up her kid from school and arranged for childcare, the work is no longer available and she won’t be paid for it.
Just-in-time scheduling like this is the latest new thing, designed to make retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, and other customer-driven businesses more nimble and keep costs to a minimum. 
Software can now predict up-to-the-minute staffing needs on the basis of  information such as traffic patterns, weather, and sales merely hours or possibly minutes before. 
This way, employers don’t need to pay anyone to be at work unless they’re really needed. Companies can avoid paying wages to workers who’d otherwise just sit around.
Employers assign workers tentative shifts, and then notify them a half-hour or ten minutes before the shift is scheduled to begin whether they’re actually needed. Some even require workers to check in by phone, email, or text shortly before the shift starts. 
Just-in-time scheduling is another part of America’s new “flexible” economy – along with the move to independent contractors and the growing reliance on “share economy” businesses, like Uber, that purport to do nothing more than connect customers with people willing to serve them. 
New software is behind all of this – digital platforms enabling businesses to match their costs exactly with their needs.  
The business media considers such flexibility an unalloyed virtue. Wall Street rewards it with higher share prices. America’s “flexible labor market” is the envy of business leaders and policy makers the world over. 
There’s only one problem. The new flexibility doesn’t allow working people to live their lives. 
Businesses used to consider employees fixed costs  – like the costs of factories, offices, and equipment. Payrolls might grow or shrink over time as businesses expanded or contracted, but from year to year they were fairly constant. 
That meant steady jobs. And with steady jobs came steady paychecks along with regular and predictable work schedules. 
But employees are now becoming variable costs of doing business – depending on ups and downs in demand that may change hour by hour, possibly minute by minute.
.
Yet working people have to pay the rent or make mortgage payments, and have keep up with utility, food, and fuel bills. These bills don’t vary much from month to month. They’re the fixed costs of living.  
American workers can’t simultaneously be variable costs for business yet live in their own fixed-cost worlds. 
They’re also husbands and wives and partners, most are parents, and they often have to take care of elderly relatives. All this requires coordinating schedules in advance – who’s going to cover for whom, and when. 
But such planning is impossible when you don’t know when you’ll be needed at work. 
Whatever it’s called – just-in-time scheduling, on-call staffing, on-demand work, independent contracting, or the “share economy” – the result is the same: No predictability, no economic security. 
This makes businesses more efficient, but it’s a nightmare for working families. 
Last week, the National Employment Law Project reported that 42 percent of U.S. workers make less than $15 an hour. 
But even $20 an hour isn’t enough if the work is unpredictable and insecure. 
Not only is a higher minimum wage critical. So are more regular and predictable hours. 
Some states require employers to pay any staff who report to work for a scheduled shift but who are then sent home, at least 4 hours pay at the minimum wage.
But these laws haven’t kept up with software that enables employers to do just-in-time scheduling – and inform workers minutes before their shift that they’re not needed. 
In what may become a test case, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week warned 13 big retailers – including Target and The Gap – that their just-in-time scheduling may violate New York law, which requires payments to workers who arrive for a shift and then are sent home.
We need a federal law requiring employers to pay for scheduled work. 
Alternatively, if American workers can’t get more regular and predictable hours, they at least need stronger safety nets. 
These would include high-quality pre-school and after-school programs; unemployment insurance for people who can only get part-time work; and a minimum guaranteed basic income.  
All the blather about “family-friendly workplaces” is meaningless if workers have no control over when they’re working. 

Migrant Tragedy

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The GOP Alternative


Friday, April 24, 2015

Our New Attorney General


More Than 6 Out Of 10 Support Legal Same-Sex Marriages



As the Supreme Court readies itself to hear the cases regarding state bans on same-sex marriages, they no longer have to worry about whether the American people will accept legalizing those marriages. A new Washington Post / ABC News Poll (done between April 16th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,016 adults, with a 3.5 point margin of error) shows a record percentage of Americans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages.

The results of that poll, illustrated in the charts above, reveals that currently more than 6 out of 10 Americans (61%) support legalization. And when we look at the demographics of the survey, we find that only two groups -- Republicans (34%) and those over 65 (46%) -- have a minority supporting it. All other groups (gender, race, age, education, and political preference) have a significant majority in favor of legalizing same-sex marriages.

This is a good thing, because it shows a majority of Americans believe our laws should apply equally to everyone -- and that percentage continues to grow. The battle is not over yet for equal rights, not only for the LGBT community, but also for others (minorities, women, non-christians, etc.). But the country is changing fast, and giant steps are now being taken to fulfill the promise of our Constitution.

Billionaire's Frat Party

Political Cartoon is by Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune.

The Right Is At Odds With Other People On Global Warming



The conservative Republicans are out of touch with other Americans on many issues (more tax cuts for rich and corporations, offshoring of American jobs, raising the minimum wage, cutting Social Security benefits, privatizing Medicare, deregulating Wall Street, funding education, taking care of the poor, etc.). And it is no different with global climate change (commonly called global warming).

The Gallup Poll combined all their surveys for the last five years (surveying 6,154 adults) on the issue of global climate change, and came up with the numbers in the charts above. The margin of error for each group is 3 to 4 points. Respondents were divided according to their political preference -- liberal Democrat, moderate Democrat, Independent, Moderate Republican, and conservative Republican.

Note that a majority of every group (but the conservative Republicans) have a significant majority saying the effects of global climate change will be felt in our lifetimes. This even includes moderate Republicans (64%). The ONLY group disagreeing, with only 37% saying it will be in our lifetimes, is the conservative Republicans group, and 40% of them say the effects will never be felt.

And it's not just with the global climate change timeline that conservatives are out of step. Independents (54%), moderate Democrats (67%), and liberal Democrats (81%) all say that global climate change is due to human activity -- while moderate Republicans are basically split (49% to 47%). Only the conservative Republicans disagree -- with 27% saying human activity and a whopping 70% saying it is due to natural cycles.

It is just a fact that most Americans believe global climate change is real and is caused by human activity. Unfortunately, due to some effective gerrymandering in 2010, the Republicans control both houses of Congress -- and almost all of them come from the conservative wing of that party. These are the climate change deniers, and that means nothing significant will be done to curb global climate change until at least 2017 (assuming enough of them can be voted out of office by then).

The conservatives are more worried about corporate profits than saving the Earth. They have no future vision, but only care about how big a profit their corporate masters can make this year.

Twerking For Cash

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Support For Walker Has Dropped Drastically In Iowa


A couple of months ago, Scott Walker was the new big thing among the Republican hopefuls -- at least in Iowa. He was the choice of 24% of Iowa Republican voters (14 points higher than any other Republican). Now his support has been nearly cut in half -- resting at 13% (3 points less than Bush, and only 1 point better than Rubio).

What happened? Has the new worn off, or are the possible legal problems of Walker starting to affect his candidacy? I'm not sure, but Walker's return to the pack means their is no real leader in Iowa right now.

Christie and Santorum have also lost a significant amount of support among Iowa Republicans -- while Bush, Rubio, and Carson have gained significant support. All of the other candidates are basically where they were in February.

These numbers are from surveys done by Gravis Marketing on February 13th and April 13th (with both dates having a 5 point margin of error).

Privacy Or Security ?

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in The Christian Science Monitor.

Dumbos


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Puzzling


Republicans Are Playing With Fire On Social Security



For a few years now, the congressional Republicans have been trying to convince Americans that Social Security is going broke, will soon be bankrupt, and won't be around when today's young people are ready to retire. Those are all outrageous LIES!

Social Security has the funding to keep paying full benefits until shortly after 2030 -- and even then it will not be broke or bankrupt. It would be able to continue paying at least 80% of full benefits for many more years.

Why are the Republicans telling these ridiculous lies? Because they have always hated the program. They voted against it when it was created, and they've been trying to get rid of it ever since. They know they can't get rid of it all at once, so they've been trying to chip away at it and damage the program until it is no longer viable. They will claim they are trying to "save" the program, but all of their proposals would seriously damage it.

A couple of their most onerous suggestions are to cut benefits for retirees, and to raise the age of retirement to get Social Security benefits. These are terrible ideas -- and they are not supported by the American public. A whopping 77% of Americans opposes cutting benefits, while only 13% support it. And a significant majority of 56% opposes raising the retirement age, while only 27% support that idea.

Americans know that Social Security is a government program that works. It has reduced the number of seniors living in poverty from over 50% to under 10%. Americans also know that there is a fix for the funding problem Social Security will face in the future -- one that doesn't involve cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

As the chart below shows, 55% of Americans would support raising the cap on income subject to FICA (Social Security) payroll taxes above the current cap of $118,500 (or eliminate that cap). That wouldn't affect most workers at all, since their already paying the full amount for the FICA tax. It would just require the rich to pay the same percentage that everyone else already pays -- and that seems fair to me.

The Republicans are playing with fire by trying to cut benefits, raise the retirement age, or privatize Social Security (another dumb GOP idea). They think the American people are fools -- and that just may jump up to bite them on election day.


Below are charts about a couple more ideas floating around to "fix" Social Security -- to decrease the benefits of retirees making $80,000 or more -- and to eliminate the benefits for retirees making $200,000 or more. Neither idea would fix the future funding problem, because they wouldn't save nearly enough money.

Both ideas have plurality support, but neither gets a significant majority in support from the public.

All of these charts on this page were made with information contained in a new YouGov Poll -- done between April 18th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a 4.1 point margin of error.



Smoke (And Mirrors)

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jon Stewart - On Watching Fox News

The Guardian recently asked Jon Stewart if he would watch Fox News after he retires from The Daily Show. I loved his answer. Stewart said:

“All right, let’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realize, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.”

(NOTE - This caricature of Jon Stewart is by DonkeyHotey.)

Free ?

Political Cartoon is by Mike Thompson in the Detroit Free Press.

The Latest National Presidential Nomination Survey



This is the latest national poll on the presidential campaign. It is the YouGov Poll done between April 18th and 20th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 4.1 points. I found it interesting because it not only shows who the members of each party prefer to be their nominee, but also who the general public would prefer to be the nominee of each party.

The interesting thing is that the general public is not that different from the voters in the two parties. The public has no real preference among Republicans (although Bush led with 12%), and neither do the Republicans at this point (with no candidate getting more than 15%).

It's different on the Democratic side. Both the public and the Democrats have a clear favorite, and it's no surprise -- Hillary Clinton. About 35% of the public pick Clinton (23 points more than Biden, who finished second). Among Democrats, Clinton gets a clear majority of 65%.

The two charts below don't mean anything. I just found them amusing. It shows the preference among the candidates that members of the opposing party would choose. One thing is clear though -- Republicans don't want Democrats to nominate Hillary Clinton.



Don't Shoot

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson in the Houston Chronicle.

MillionaireTexas Governor Only Paid $104 In Income Tax

(The image of Greg Abbott above is from the website of Progress Texas.)

The following post is from Lone Star Project:

Disclosing information like income tax filings late on a Friday to avoid press coverage is standard political behavior. However, distorting and manipulating the information to hide the facts is patently dishonest. Last Friday, Greg Abbott did just that – he selectively added, and withheld other, important information in a press statement to hide the fact that he paid only $104 in federal income taxes last year – a rate of under one percent – which is far less than what the average Texan pays.

According to tax documents he made public, Abbott was paid $134,000 in salary as the Attorney General last year. Rather than being straight up and stating that he took advantage of a series of deductions, exemptions and exclusions to reduce his tax bill to only $104, he implied that he had a 39.96 percent tax burden due in large part to property taxes – most of it on his approximately million dollar home.

It was a sleazy move. Greg Abbott included his property taxes to mask his actual income tax payment. Abbott also, of course, did not mention that he is a very wealthy man as a result of a multi-million dollar personal injury settlement he was awarded and that is paid to him as an annuity. Abbott pays NO taxes on his multi-million dollar personal injury settlement.

Dry Hole

Political Cartoon is by David Horsey in the Los Angeles Times.

No Right To Complain


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day !

(Image is from website of Texas A&M University - San Antonio.)

This is the only planet we have. Let's take care of it -- for ourselves and our descendants.

A Little Good News In Honor Of Earth Day



In honor of Earth Day, I thought we could all use a bit of good news. And the good news I found was in the form of two recent surveys. The top chart is from a Gallup Poll done between March 5th and 8th of a random national sample of 1,025 adults, with a margin of error of 4 points. It shows that more Americans (49%) would choose to protect the environment over developing new energy -- even if that meant energy development would suffer. Only 39% disagree.

The bottom chart is from a new YouGov Poll done on April 15th and 16th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of about 4 points. It shows that 60% of the population would find it unacceptable for a political candidate to deny man-made global climate change. If our congressional districts were drawn fairly (instead of gerrymandered), and more people understood the urgency of global warming, we could have a different Congress -- one that would actually take some action.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

To sum up on this Earth Day, I thought it would be good to bust some myths being spread by deniers of global warming. The following is from the website of The Good Housekeeping Institute:

MYTH #1 -- IF GLOBAL WARMING WAS AN ISSUE, BLIZZARDS WOULD BE ON THE WANE.

FACT: We're seeing stronger blizzards because of global warming. As the air, land and sea get warmer, more water evaporates. So when a storm comes along, there's more water to pick up and dump, meaning more snow when it's cold out.

MYTH #2 -- IT'S ALL A NATURAL CYCLE; HUMANS CAN'T AFFECT SOMETHING AS BIG AS EARTH.

FACT: Yes, Earth's temperature goes up and down with the ice ages. But scientists think temperatures should be dropping in preparation for the next ice age, and instead they're soaring. According to NASA, thermometers around the world find that the average global temp has been rising since 1880; 2014 was the hottest year yet. And before the Industrial Era, natural levels of carbon dioxide were about 275 parts per million (ppm). Now, due to all the coal, oil and gas we've burned, levels have topped 400 ppm. The explanation? Us.

MYTH #3 -- IT MAY BE REAL, BUT IT'S NOT AFFECTING MY FAMILY RIGHT NOW.

Fact: Climate change is already hitting our pocketbooks: U.S. losses due to natural disasters like storms, floods, droughts and wildfires rose between 1980 and 2014. Your family may also be affected by worsening allergies from plants that bloom earlier and produce more pollen due to climate change.

MYTH #4 -- LIVING "GREEN" TAKES TOO MUCH EFFORT AND COST.

FACT: Many of the reforms that help Earth can also ease your bottom line, and they're simple to implement. Food waste is the largest component of landfill, so by reducing it — eat leftovers! — we can all significantly lessen methane-emitting landfill material and save cash. More efficient appliances and cars may cost extra up front, but they use so much less energy over the lifetime of the product that you come out ahead.

MYTH #5 -- EVEN IF WE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT, CHINA'S BUILDING A COAL PLANT A WEEK. WHY BOTHER?

FACT: Our per-person carbon dioxide emissions are almost three times those of China. Yes, China has a lot more people, but the Chinese are doing something about it: They're number two in the world in solar power (we're number five), and they're also beating us on wind power — they're first, we're second.

MYTH #6 -- I'M JUST ONE PERSON. I CAN'T MAKE MUCH DIFFERENCE.

FACT: Our lifestyle decisions control a shocking 75% of emissions in the U.S. If we all improved the energy efficiency of our homes by just 10%, it would be the equivalent of taking some 25 million cars off the road! And as voters, we control a portion of the other 25%. Check out the nonprofit Citizens' Climate Lobby, which can help you write letters to Congress in support of Earth-friendly legislation.

Suicide ?

Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Obamacare Becoming More Accepted & Most Oppose Repeal




As millions more people get health insurance, and none of the terrible things the Republicans warned of have happened, Obamacare is becoming more popular with the general public. That's what a new survey by the prestigious Kaiser Family Foundation shows.

Note in the top chart that for the first time in over two and a half years, more people view the program as favorable than unfavorable (although the difference is within the poll's margin of error, which means the public is now split). That's a good thing, since previously most people viewed the program unfavorably.

But even though the public is now split over the program in general, only a minority want to see it repealed (or scaled back). In the Kaiser Poll, 46% want to keep the program as it is or expand it, while 41% want to repeal the program or scale it back. And a new Bloomberg Poll shows an even better percentage wanting the program. About 12% would keep it as it is, 51% want to see how it works and improve it, and only 35% want to repeal it.

What kind of modifications (or improvements) would people like to see? The most popular ones are shown in the chart below.

Figure 6: “Top Health Care Priorities” for the President and CongressTotalDemocratsIndependentsRepublicans
Making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer, are affordable to those who need them76877266
Government action to lower prescription drug prices60685751
Protecting people from being charged high prices when they visit hospitals covered by their health plan but are seen by a doctor not covered by their plan56636244
Making sure health plans have sufficient provider networks55645843
Making information about the price of doctors’ visits, procedures, and tests, such as hip replacements and MRIs more available to patients55625843
Making information about what doctors and hospitals are covered under different health insurance plans more available54605546
Making information comparing the quality of health care provided by doctors and hospitals more available to patients54645347
Changing current eligibility rules so that financial help under the health care law to purchase health insurance is available to more people50724431
Requiring all states to expand their Medicaid program to cover more low-income, uninsured adults50744328