Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ignorance Reeks: Americans Loathe Healtchare Reform -- Until They Learn the Details

A recent Newsweek poll confirms that public opinion often rests on ignorance or hypocrisy. The poll surveys public opinion regarding healthcare reform. When asked whether they agreed with President Obama's healthcare reform plan, 49% of respondents disagreed, while only 40% agreed. When these same respondents hear details about the plan, however, 48% support it, while 43% disagree. Here's a clip from the analysis:
The NEWSWEEK Poll asked respondents about eight health-care-reform provisions that Obama and many Democrats in Congress have generally supported. It found that the majority of Americans supported five of those provisions, three by particularly large margins. Eighty-one percent agreed with the creation of a new insurance marketplace, the exchange, for individual subscribers to compare plans and buy insurance at a competitive rate. Seventy-six percent thought health insurers should be required to cover anyone who applies, including those with preexisting conditions; and 75 percent agreed with requiring most businesses to offer health insurance to their employees, with incentives for small-business owners to do so.

Not all Democrat positions received such high marks. Imposing a fine on individuals who do not buy health insurance was the least popular provision, supported by only 28 percent and opposed by 62 percent. Fifty-five percent opposed the so-called Cadillac tax on the most expensive health-insurance plans.
The Newsweek article concludes that the poll shows that President Obama has done a poor job explaining the details of his reform plan to the public. I wholeheartedly agree. One of the most frustrating aspects of the push to reform healthcare has been the weak voice of the White House on the subject.

The Obama administration cannot rely upon the media to do the important work of explaining the plan to the public. Rather than discussing the merits of the plan, the media report political battles and rightwing hysteria (death panels, socialism, etc.). The failure to market the plan effectively has already diminished some of the Democrats' public support, and this problem could very well harm the party in the mid-term elections.


Doug said...

Have you considered the possibility that the reason for the gap is the "inside baseball" reporting of the bargains made between politicians to get the bill? When you explain the bill to people point by point, I assume you leave out the Nebraska and Louisiana deals that made the Senate bill look so smarmy. Part of the popular objection is to the apparent corruption in the process. I don't think it's that people are stupid, it's that there's more to the deals than the bullet points, and many of us know that.

RightKlik said...

Push polling works.

Have you looked at the text of the polling questions, Prof Hutchinson?

Six of the eight features of the Dem plan described by the Newsweek poll are wildly popular ones. All of the descriptions were simple, warm & fuzzy...and were ripped from the White House website.

Many of the most intensely unpopular features of DemCare were left unmentioned. No mention of the Cornhusker kickback, the LA purhchase, jail time for people who fail to comply with the individual mandate, or years of new taxation before benefits kick in. No mention of the real possibility of loss of private insurance for millions of Americans. No mention of increased
political control of medical decisions.

The Newsweek/Princeton poll is flawed. The information they provided in their "interview" wasn't education, it was a sales pitch.

A flawed poll yields illegitimate results.

FYI: Americans are undoubtedly tired of being portrayed as being in a state of ignorance. Those who support the Democrats' health care plan have undermined their own efforts by using that kind of language.

RealityZone said...

Why do not just admit it.
The system is broken.
Obama stayed pretty much clear of this, and left it up to the Congress Critters.
The Ins. Corps. and Big Pharma will not allow a true HC reform. Plain and simple.
Our spineless "leaders" do not have the political will to shove it down their throats.
Health care belongs on Main St. not Wall St.

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