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.
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
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.