Friday, March 26, 2010

a comment or two on health care (I can't resist)

Perhaps you, like me, have been hearing for the past several weeks (months?) the loudest Republican talking-point--American's don't want Obamacare; how can Democrats pass a law that the majority of Americans don't want--and wondering what data there is to support that claim.

There are a lot of polls--a lot of polls--but I came across some data from certainly one of the most respected polling outlets, and thought I'd share.

Here's the numbers. First, prior to last weekend's vote:

Ok, certainly more would advise their congressman to vote against the bill. However, one notices two things, (1) it's not a majority and (2) amongst those that would advise against there are no doubt a good many that didn't think what was on the table (something like what was signed into law a few days ago) didn't go far enough, they want something more comprehensive, perhaps something more like universal health care, or a system that doesn't rely on the private sector to control the means of providing health insurance to all but those who qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Those folks would also advise their congressman to vote against the bill. Without that teased out, it's impossible to know how many actually oppose a progressive health care reform bill, but it's safe to say, based on this poll, that it's something below 48 percent of Americans. Probably way below.

So, it would seem, the Republican claim that most Americans don't want Obamacare seems to have been just plain wrong, at least prior to the vote.

But how do Americans feel about change now that a bill has been passed?

Perhaps a more telling story.

Split by party affiliation, for sure, but among the totality of adults, the 49 percent thinking it's a good thing is an awful lot more than the 40 percent thinking its a bad thing.

And then there's this...

...which is, I think, a little more difficult to interpret. Forty percent of adults are "enthusiastic" or "pleased" with the bill. Forty-two percent "disappointed" or "angry."

At first blush it would appear that American's aren't overwhelmingly excited about the bill. And that's a reasonable conclusion. However, it's harder to conclude why they aren't excited.

For instance, I'm pleased that something finally made it through, and I think where we will be once everything shakes out is better than where we are right now, but I can't help but be disappointed too. Disappointed that a large majority of Americans don't think universal health care, or something close to it, a just and obvious good. That's exceptionally disappointing. I'm also disappointed it took so long. And I'm disappointed that it's caused such anger and partisan division. Frankly, I can hardly believe it's such a hot-button issue. I'm also disappointed with the limitations of the bill. As with Dennis Kucinich and others, I don't think the current bill goes near far enough. It may be that the current bill will serve as a stepping stone to more sweeping, more paradigmatic change in the American health care system sometime in the future, but it may also be that the initiative is lost, inertia towards change evaporated. Time will tell, of course, but I fear the later. So, in that sense I'm also disappointed.


Broke a chain today. On the mtb. Riding up the steep stuff. Snap! I wasn't even shifting.

It actually broke in two places, which is weird. Oh well...


Nevada said...

Very nice analysis.

KanyonKris said...

Good to set the record straight. I so tire of the lies in politics. However, what do polls mean with a complex bill like this one - how many of those people polled do you believe have even a workable understanding of what's being proposed?

Typo in the title, pretty sure you meant "health".

goat said...

Good grief. What an embarrassing mistake. Thanks, Kris.

As to your question, who knows? But a number a lot smaller than those who claim to know.

I, for instance, hardly know anything about it, and I'd be willing to bet I know more than most. (Of course, most would say that... Did you know that nearly 80 percent of Americans claim to be "above average" drivers? What I think that means is that we all have pretty healthy self-esteems, but it doesn't say anything about our driving.)

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