Don’t look now, but a marginalized old hand on the political stage may be making a big comeback.  No, it’s not former VP Dick Cheney, but it’s an entity that had been just as maligned as Joe Biden’s predecessor.  Rasmussen’s latest survey shows that the approval rating of the American medical system has gone up 20 points in the past 18 months, and now has a near-majority of likely voters calling it good or excellent:

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. That marks a steady increase from 44% at the beginning of October, 35% in May and 29% a year-and-a-half ago.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% now say the U.S. health care system is poor.

It is interesting to note that confidence in the system has improved as the debate over health care reform has moved to center stage. The latest polling shows that only 38% favor the health care legislation currently working its way through Congress.

Most liberal voters (51%) now rate the current health care system as poor. However, 62% of conservatives say it’s good or excellent. Among political moderates, 44% say the health care system is good or excellent while 26% say it’s poor.

On a partisan breakdown, the numbers become a little more clear.  Republicans rate it good or excellent by a 64/36 margin.  Independents also have a majority favoring the current system, albeit smaller at 53/46.  Interestingly, 27% of independents rate it as excellent, as opposed to 23% of Republicans.  Democrats, meanwhile, rate it 33/65, far out of pace with the rest of the nation.

That’s not to say that people believe it’s perfect.  A majority of Republicans (54%) and a large plurality of independents (45%) believe that minor changes are needed to the system, presumably around cost.  Among all respondents, 62% said that cost was the biggest problem in the current system; only 18% said a lack of universal coverage.  Majorities of Republicans (70%), independents (67%), and Democrats (52%) agree on that point.  Only 5% of Republicans and 17% of independents thought universal coverage was the primary issue in American health care, and for that matter, only 30% of Democrats think so, too.

Clearly, though, there is little appetite for an overhaul of the system.  In every partisan demographic, that option gains 15% or less support. And the more ObamaCare is seen as an overhaul than a reform, the worse it looks.

Joni Mitchell once sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”  ObamaCare has made us a lot more appreciative of the current system, with its cost flaws that do need reform — but not in the direction Democrats want to take it.  Next thing we know, the continued bumbling of this administration will have Dick Cheney’s favorables up 20 points as well.  After all, he was languishing in the mid-20s at the end of the last administration, too.