Last week, the Washington Post ran a story about public opinion on health care reform which cited several polls. The authors, Ceci Connolly and Jon Cohen, made some efforts at making support for change seem thin or weak. As a prime example, they said this:
In the new Post-ABC poll, 62 percent support the general concept [of a government-sponsored health insurance option], but when respondents were told that meant some insurers would go out of business, support dropped sharply, to 37 percent.Some other sources have already pointed out Connolly's history of anti-journalism, but that's not the part I enjoyed.
The actual question was
21. Would you support or oppose having the government create a new health insurance plan to compete with private health insurance plans?Some 62% supported the option of government insurance and 56% of those continued to support it in the event proposed in the follow-up. Overall, including those who oppose a public option, 37% supported a government-run plan in the face of such an outcome.
21a. (IF SUPPORT) What if having the government create a new health insurance plan made many private health insurers go out of business because they could not compete? In that case would you support or oppose creating a government-run health insurance plan?
Now, note first that the poll didn't ask the people who opposed the idea if they would still oppose it if it afforded them better care at a lower cost. And note second that the article referred to "some" private insurers going out of business but the actual question said "many," which has quite a different flavor.
Ah, but still that's not the part that amused me. No, it was the fact that by the Post's own poll, by its own numbers, 37% of the American public doesn't give a flying damn if the whole freaking private health insurance industry goes down the toilet if there's a government plan in place.
That's how fed up we are with our health insurance system. And if that's not a mandate for real change, I can't imagine what would be.