The Reality of Health Care Polls

As we close in on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act this week, more and more polls have appeared in the news getting the reaction to health care reform and the impending decision.  For instance, ABC News reported the country is both against the health care law and against the current health care system.  But they included some polling numbers that should be noted:

Positive ratings of current care, for their part, peak among senior citizens, at 86 percent – perhaps ironically, given their enrollment in the government-run Medicare program. Current care ratings also are higher, by 15 points, among people with $50,000-plus incomes, vs. their lower-income counterparts. And strongly favorable ratings of current care spike, in particular, among people in $100,000-plus households.

In other words, people who have easier access to health care compared to the people who don’t, even if that health care is government backed, like it.  This is related to an interesting point if you have been watching much of this polling data recently.  Something has been strangely left out of most of the polls.  Most of these polls seem to avoid asking or reporting how many people thought the ACA didn’t go far enough.  Slight majorities may be against the reform but this does not take into account the number of people against the reform because they wanted a more universal system, such as Canada or Germany.

The big problem with not acknowledging this reality is it seems people are just against the ACA and therein want the status quo, which is clearly not the case as the ABC News poll indicates.  We also know people like many of the provisions the ACA is enforcing (or on its way to enforcing barring a full overturn by the Supreme Court).  For example, from CBS News/NY Times data:

85 percent said insurance companies should cover people with pre-existing conditions and nearly seven in ten supported children under 26 staying on their parents’ health plan.

But we are mostly told we don’t like it without explaining why.  Take for instance an article from the Wall Street Journal.  The article has plenty of polling data but only says this regarding people saying it didn’t do enough:

The health-care law has stirred deep passions on both sides of the partisan divide, including among some liberals who think it didn’t go far enough.

No polling data included as to what percentage believe this.  Not exactly surprising the Murdoch-owned WSJ might gloss over this part of the debate.

One poll that did include this data states, “27 percent said it didn’t go far enough.”  What people want to assume about what we should do on health care based on this information is up to them.  But one thing seems to be clear and that is the media doesn’t do enough to point this fact out in the debate and it is certainly possible what the majority wants is being drowned out of the conversation.  And if the majority wanted something, we would of course get it, right?…Right?

Probably not.  Take the Buffet Rule for instance.  Gallup reported a 60% majority favored it while CNN reported 72% in favor.  Despite these large majorities, the rule died because we live in a democra$y and that’s how democra$y work$.  Rule of the money…excuse me, many.  Maybe it’s many with money.  I’m confused.

The point is we’ve seen a lot of polling data on health care but the media has not been completely honest with us.  If they were, we might figure out the majority wants something the powerful interests at the top don’t and that is simply the same access to the same health care they have and enjoy (and approve of as noted above).  Even if it’s government backed like Medicare.

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