The supporters of a government-run “public option” are touting a CBS/NY Times poll which purportedly shows that 65% of people support a public option. But examine how the question is framed, and it is clear that the question is intended to elicit a favorable response:

“Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — that would compete with private insurance plans?”

What if the question were worded differently, such as:

  • “President Obama has said that the current Medicare cost structure is unsustainable. Would you favor or oppose the government offering a similar plan to everyone?”
  • “Would you be in favor of the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — even if it meant that private insurers could not compete with the government?”
  • “Would you be in favor of the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan — something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get — even if it meant that some employers would drop their private coverage for employees?”

I doubt that questions which included the negative aspects of a public option would result in such positive responses. The question is framed to elicit a misleading answer which then can be used by supporters of the public option to overstate public support.

Indeed, Mark Kleiman was surprised to see CBS/NY Times polling such a formatted question. Kleiman argues that supporters of the public option should try tying the “public option” to the popular Medicare program to gain more support. This pro-public option strategy is exactly how the CBS/NY Times pollsters framed the question, i.e., in the most favorable light for the public option without any hint of the problems facing Medicare or the negative fallout from a public option.

Here’s a question I bet would elicit an even more positive response: “Would you be in favor of a free lunch?”

Yes, indeed, the poll results will show that people overwhelmingly support a free lunch, so there must be such a thing as a free lunch. Let’s restructure our government and economy around providing free lunches to everyone! The polls says it has support, so it must be good.

——————————————–
Related Posts:
Get Rid of the Mandate
IRS The New Health Care Enforcer
Taxing Your Mere Existence

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

 

 
donate
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.