Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Polls vs Voters

Of late, both sides in the increasingly dysfunctional Congress have taken to citing public opinion surveys as proof that their side is the right side. Needless to say, both sides have polling to support them. And, needless to say, both sides are either lying or pathetically naive. I am going with lying. Here is why.

Political polls are almost always written to support a predetermined conclusion. The question can usually draw the desired answer.

If the question is, "Do you want an Obama style national health care plan run by the government," the answer is almost always "No." Most Americans recognize government's inability to host a cocktail party, let alone run a health insurance plan.

If the question is, "Do you think the health insurance companies should have to accept pre-existing conditions and justify rate increases," the answer is almost always, "Yes." Most Americans actually dislike their health insurance carrier and have had at least one problem with them.

Most entertainingly, when told the actual content of the Senate bill (which has already passed by the way), most Americans surveyed like the plan. But when they are confronted with the dishonest statements from both sides about the bill, most of those polled disagree.

And that is the problem with this process. There is no truth, no reality, no honesty. Just posturing, lying (yes, lying) and fabrications. From death panels to covering the uninsured, nobody that reports to work in Congress is telling you the truth.

Those pushing the bill make it sound like a magic pill. Somehow spending almost a trillion dollars over 10 years will save us money. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see the fallacy there. Those opposed call it a government takeover of health care. Well, that is not in the Senate bill. In fact, the Senate bill leaves the existing insurance carriers in charge.

Those in favor tell us that mandating health insurance is needed and a good thing. Mandates are never a good thing and requiring Americans to have insurance is most likely unconstitutional. Those opposed talk about Medicare being cut by "half a trillion dollars right away." Not true. It is over 10 years and almost all by way of cost reductions and elimination of duplicated services.

When all is said and done, both parties in Congress are flat out making stuff up to slam the other side around. And, to be honest, not one member of Congress cares about you...unless you happen to be handing them large wads of money.

As a historical note, the same debate was held over Medicare. The Republicans predicted the end of quality health care, called it a government takeover and socialism. The Democrats claimed it would not increase the deficit or raise taxes. As it is today, it was then. Both sides lied and both sides were wrong, yet Medicare does work and the private health care industry is alive and well.

This debate is not about health insurance. It is not about health care. It is not even really about regular folks. It is really about the next election. It is about their beloved and somewhat sad game.

Many regular people have recognized that Congress is least qualified to even talk about health insurance since they have the best plan anywhere. And a lot of voters have suggested that Congress be forced to accept whatever plan they pass. I have a better idea - let's vote them out in November and force them to deal with real insurance companies just like we do every day.

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