Healthcare: Polling the Polls

My rule of thumb on polls is that whatever your desired outcome, someone can create a poll to support it.  As many have said before me, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

I decided to “poll the polls” and see just how scattered the polling conclusions are.

I noticed a couple of things doing this very quick and informal poll polling.  How do people subconsciously process a headline that proclaims “49% of Americans Support Healthcare Reform.” In this headline, less than half of the people polled support healthcare, and yet they use the word “support” even though the supporters are in the minority.  It may well be the brain locks onto and retains “support healthcare reform” regardless of what the number is in front of it, sort of subtle brainwashing.

Another poll from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network was a little more disturbing.  It stated, “A new poll finds that Maine AARP members support elements of the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate.”  Elements? Why would they use the qualifier, “elements” of the health care reform bill?  Everyone on the planet will support various “elements” of any bill.  The title of a bill is an element.  The author of a bill is an element.  I would agree 100% with those elements of any bill, but that has nothing to do with whether or not I support the bill itself.

This is misleading, and in my mind, sort of desperate.  It may have well been that a majority of the AARP members in Maine did not support healthcare reform at all, but we’ll never know because the article never says.

It simply says that “82% support a provision requiring insurance companies to cover routine checkups and preventive care” and “78%…approve Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower…drug prices.”  That says nothing about whether or not Maine AARP members support the other 99% of the bill.

It seemed that all in all, most people believe the system needs reform but they are generally happy with what they have now and they don’t believe the government is capable of providing universal health care without bankrupting the country.



Categories: Healthcare Reform

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