RJC, NJDC weigh in on health reform. But where are the Jews?

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

So what do you suppose the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group’s that’s partisan with a capital “P,” thinks about the Democrats’ health insurance reform plans and the administration’s strong support?

C’mon, take a wild guess.

Stumped?  They’re against it, just about as much as the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) is for it.

This is what the RJC had to say in an action alert today today:

“Even though more Americans oppose Obamacare than support it, the Republican Jewish Coalition is the only Jewish organization opposing Obamacare.  During this critical month, many Jewish groups have unfortunately lined up behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the most extreme versions of health-care reform.

“We are asking our members to use this month to weigh in to make it clear that many in the Jewish community reject the Obama prescription for putting the federal government in total control of nearly a fifth of our economy.”

The results of the Democratic  plan, the group argues, will be higher taxes and the “imposition of new requirements for policies and mandatory benefits provided by private insurers.”

NJDC – and here’s another “stop the presses” moment – supports the Democratic objectives, and has inaugurated a “rabbis for health insurance reform” online drive to support the legislation.  NJDC says this:

“Our tradition teaches us to pursue justice. Yet it is not a just society when families are forced to choose between paying their mortgages or paying for prescription drugs. It is not a just society when small businesses must choose between being profitable or providing coverage to their employees. It is not a just society when people are denied health insurance because they have a pre-existing condition for which they need medical care.”

All of which makes me wonder: where exactly are Jewish voters on critical health care reform questions?

There’s no direct polling data, although in past surveys Jewish voters have ranked health care as a major concern. But there’s nothing to indicate whether they favor the kind of plan being advanced by the Democrats, which include reforms using private insurance companies and the possibility of a public option to deal with the uninsured.

Many progressives are upset that the Democratic proposals don’t go further in the direction of a single-payer plan; with so many Jews falling into the liberal sector, I assume many fall into that category, although in the end they’re likely to support a half-a-loaf plan as better than no plan at all.

On the other hand, Jews are relatively affluent, and therefore not as likely to fall into the categories of the under-insured or uninsured. So maybe once the Republicans start talking about the astronomical cost of new plans, they might  get a favorable hearing from some Jewish voters.

On the other hand (I think I’m running out of hands) the Jewish community is a disproportionally aging population – meaning that many families have elderly members who are having a really hard time dealing with skyrocketing health costs and the maddening policies of the insurance companies. Won’t that be a spur to greater support for Democratic plans?

One thing I’m pretty sure of: Jewish voters are probably less likely than their neighbors to fall for the malicious nonsense of those claiming the Democrats plan to institute “Obama death panels” and use the health plan to begin a socialist reign of terror.

But maybe not; given all the stuff I’ve been reading about secret administration plans to sell out Israel, maybe there are a lot of Jews who think Sarah Palin was on to something.

What we need is some good polling data here.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.