NBC News Poll: Health Care Reform Fear Mongering Seems to Be Working

A new NBC News poll reflects that Americans remain skeptical about the Democrats’ health care reform plans.

For example, “a plurality” believes that the Democrats’ health plan would worsen the quality of health care; a result that, according to MSNBC.com, “is virtually unchanged from last month’s NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.”

Fair enough. The president and the Democrats certainly need to do a better job of either selling their plan to the American people, or of modifying it to where it is acceptable to (a majority of) Americans.

But what is regrettable is how effective Republicans have been in shaping opinion on specific health care reform issues through misinformation and the use of fear tactics.

According to MSNBC.com:

One of the reasons why it has become tougher is due to misperceptions about the president’s plans for reform.

Majorities in the poll believe the plans would give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants; would lead to a government takeover of the health system; and would use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions — all claims that nonpartisan fact-checkers say are untrue about the legislation that has emerged so far from Congress.

Forty-five percent think the reform proposals would allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care for the elderly.

That also is untrue: The provision in the House legislation that critics have seized on — raising the specter of “death panels” or euthanasia — would simply allow Medicare to pay doctors for end-of-life counseling, if the patient wishes.

Now, the responses on the question as to whether the health plan would lead “to a government takeover of the system,” are understandable and reflect one of the areas where Obama still has a lot of work to do.

But, the responses on death panels, abortions, and illegal immigrants simply defy the facts as I understand them to be.

The following are the specific questions and results on these issues.

The complete poll results can be found here

Question: Let me read you a number of criticisms that town hall protesters have made about the proposed health care plan. For each one, please tell me whether this seems to you to be likely to happen or unlikely to happen.

Will give health insurance coverage to illegal immigrants …………
55 Likely To Happen
34 Unlikely To Happen
11 Not Sure

Will lead to a government takeover of the health care system …..
54 Likely To Happen
39 Unlikely To Happen
7 Not Sure

Will use taxpayer dollars to pay for women to have abortions …..
50 Likely To Happen
37 Unlikely To Happen
13 Not Sure

Will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care to the elderly ……
45 Likely To Happen
50 Unlikely To Happen
5 Not Sure

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

19 Comments

  1. There could be no more disaster than for Democrats to follow these idiotic polls. When a poll shows a large percentage of people believe some patently wrong, you ignore them and prove them wrong.

    The only poll that mattered was in November 2008. Polls could show 90% of the people opposing health care reform and it'd be irrelevant When health care reform is passed, Obama will get a significant boost. When gullible people find out the government is not conspiring to euthanize them, support will grow even greater.

  2. I hope you're right, elrod

    Dorian

  3. The only poll that mattered was in November 2008. Polls could show 90% of the people opposing health care reform and it'd be irrelevant

    Do you feel the poll in November 2004 was the only one that mattered and subsequent polls for the next four years were irrelevant?

  4. elrod, I would love to take a few hits off that metaphorical bong that you carry inside your brain pan. How does it feel to be on the other side of the mirror in Alice's Wonderland. Welcome to democracy, and the Dems are doing in '09 what they did in '93 and in '77—overplaying a bad hand. 1200 pages of undigested gibberish and Obama plans to sell this to a country which has a northern neighbor whose older and well-off citizens come to S. Florida to Boca & environs seeking world-class medical care in an expeditious fashion. Never mind your relatives in Boynton, the fact is that S. Florida has the best health care for people over 65 in the world. Ask the Canadians with a condo in Boca where they flee from their own country's balky, underfunded medical system. Ditto for the NHS in the UK [Boca also has a lot of Brit refugees from their and the state medical system in Australia. France, where I lived for a few years, did have a first-rate state system, but now finds itself overwhelmed by costs and by covering a lot of illegal and semi-legal immigrants in their country. There is no way with 300 million people that the US could cover 40+ million without coverage without going into colossal deficits—- and the illegal immigration rate into the US would increase with the zany package the House maniac majority passed. The only place state single-payer systems have worked is in Scandanavian countries with less than 10 million people. Switzerland also has a hybrid system which works, but has a tiny population.

    Take another hit, elrod, and keep those hallucinations coming….

  5. daveinboca wrote: “Take another hit, elrod, and keep those very amusing hallucinations coming….”

    Please… Someone… Stop this clown!

  6. Democrats claim that they will provide insurance for everyone who does not have insurance but then claims that they will not pay for illegal immigrants. They cannot have both.

    The Democrats claim they will not take over healthcare but then every progressive blogger talks about how a tax subsidized public option will put all of the insurance companies out of business and live the U.S. with a single payer system.

    The Democrats talk about eliminating waste and cost control but then cliam that the government controlled insurance comapneis will ever deny claims. Both cannot happen.

    Listening to the the Democrats is like listening to an individual with multiple personalities. If you listen long enough they will contradict themselves.

  7. The only poll that mattered was in November 2008.

    Those who believe that the only poll that mattered was the last general election may find that the next general election poll, and the next one, will matter a great deal.

  8. The question that sentient Americans need to ask themselves is whether or not they want the direction of the country to be steered by fear and misinformation or by genuine and honest dialogue. Advocates of the former course (daveinboca) have already given up.

  9. >>Please… Someone… Stop this clown!

    Oh, I dunno. I think every forum needs a clown we can all laugh at.

  10. Last time I checked, everyone's vote counted – even the dissenters. It's interesting to see how many of you can disagree with a list of historic and current facts merely by throwing up your hands and saying, “he's a clown.” I challenge you to actually protest with some meat and not just fluffy pastry! Give us some of your points on “reform” and “honest dialouge” – the facts, please.

  11. OK, aljebriee, here are some “current facts,” “some [red] meat” that I think you'll like:

    The Democrats' health plan will pull the plug on grandma

    It will provide health insurance to illegal immigrants

    It willf use taxpayers' dollars to provide free abortion for women

  12. Try to think like an Illegal Immigrant. You want free or cheap health care. Under HR3200, how do you get it.
    Simple. First, you go to the Exchange or Public Option and fill out an application. The Exchange or Public Option does not require proof of citizenshop. Now you have an insurance policy. Now you apply for an Affordability Credit. But wait, they don't go to non-citizens! Yes, but the application does not check for citizenship. It only requires proof of income based on a tax return from the IRS. The IRS has seen a rise in Individual Tax Returns (in the millions) based on ITIN's instead of SSN's. The IRS does not report false or mis-matched SSN's to ICE anyway. So there you are, an insurance policy and a public subsidy at virtually no risk. When health care reform passes, just go to the many immigrant friendly websites and you will see this procedure spelled out as a service to our hardworking undocumented guests.

  13. Let's see if you can follow this string….

    I am a dissenter…meaning: do not agree with current health care reform. The “clown” I spoke of was ironically not Obama, but “Daveinboca” who some in this chat referred to as a clown (even though he actually listed good points). Some on this forum who would so willingly go along with the current proposition, haven't been able to give any valid reasons for supporting it except to just agree for the sake of agreeing. I'll still wait for anyone who agrees with this bill to speak up with some solid facts they stand behind.

  14. aljebriee3,

    There are multiple bills being considered, not just one, so it's hard to know which one to respond to. But here are some relevant facts:

    health costs are rising and will continue to rise if we do nothing

    we, as a society, have decided that we are not going to force poor people requireing emergency care to die in the streets. Therefore, people who can't afford insurance and can't afford $150 per doctor visit wait until they get really sick and must go to the ER. As a result, the cost for people with insurance goes up.
    Not to mention that preventative care might have kept some of these people in the ER from suffering as much as they did because they wouldn't have gotten that sick.

    Some people with insurance have died because care or tests they should have gotten was denied by the insurance company.

    Some people, even though they have the money to pay the premiums, cannot get insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

    There is no longer any such thing as job stability. People change jobs frequently. They also tend to move about the country, often crossing state lines to do so. Either of these actions – changing jobs or moving out of state – can cause a person to have to change insurance plans. Where is the choice in that? Why can't we choose to stay with the same plan for as long as we want?

    The US has a lower life expectancy, higher infant morality and is listed lower on lists rating quality of healthcare compared to a lot of other countries that DO have universal healthcare. It's not a far leap to suppose that the reason could be all the Americans who are avoiding the doctor because they can't pay.

    In spite of all these problems, the insurance companies have failed to reform themselves.

    I can understand people disagreeing over which changes we need to make, but I don't see how the status quo is justifyable. When people are dying and others are relying exclusively on ER treatment instead of preventative care it's time to say we need to fix it cause it IS broke!

  15. I truly love all aspects of this discussion. However one theme that we all can agree on is that costs need to be controlled. But most discussions I have viewed only address the symptoms of high costs and not the problem. Believe me I am no big fan of the insurance companies and their lobby but a equal or bigger culprit is the food industry.
    Most experts attribute our high health costs to life style elements: smoking, obesity and lack of activity. The first has been addressed and there has been progress. the last one is personal responsibility and will be addressed. BUT the food industry giants (AMD,Coleman Meats and others) have the most powerful lobby around and are the biggest cause of our health problems today. Where are the voices challenging this group?

  16. As a UK citizen, I wish there was more informed commentary on the UK's National Health Service when it is cited in the US debate on healthcare.

    The NHS is not a “single-payer disaster”.

    Brits over 65 who go to Florida are more attracted by the year round sun than anything else – think about the UK's reputation for dull, rainy weather. Healthcare is not an issue in their decision.

    Sure, we in the UK moan about the NHS. It isn't perfect. But it does deliver care to those who need it, when they need it, with only nominal cost at point of treatment.

    For example, my mother in law had a heart attack recently. She was collected by ambulance and taken to hospital for emergency treatment inside 20 minutes. She received intensive care treatment and, thankfully, has now returned home to complete her recovery with regular checkups from her doctor. Her medication is free because she is a pensioner on low income. There was no charge for all the hospital care she received.

    So, the NHS does work. But, as I say, not perfectly.

    For example, my father in law spent a whole day last week sitting waiting for an operation to enable him to have kidney dialysis. In the end it was cancelled. He had to go back again this Tuesday when the procedure was carried out. Cost of the operation to him – free except for the hassle of turning up and wasting a day in a waiting room.

    I realise this is merely anecdotal evidence. And I know that there is so much more the NHS could do if it had more money/was saddled with less-bureaucracy etc. But it seems to work for both emergencies like that of my mother in law, and chronic situations, like that of my father in law. So it can't be that bad.

  17. Markgreen:

    Totally agree.

    I have lived in Europe (including England) for over ten years and have had nothing but good experiences with the various “national” health systems.

    Thank you for pointing it out.

    Dorian

  18. How much more are we willing to pay for lower health care cost? The cost is shifted from higher premiums to higher taxes. Chances are, we will be paying more $ for less care. I think everyone wants lower health care cost, but I'm not sure the government (democrat or republican) is capable of lowering the overall cost to taxpayers. That is my fear.

  19. Dorian
    I also lived in Europe and I doubt your claim. NHS is horrible.

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