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What influence does public opinion have on health care policy?
There seems to be a bit of the tail wagging the dog on this issue. Politicians have known that if you promise to give people “free” things and money, people are greedy enough to take them and foolish enough to believe that its all free. There is a commonly held belief that when the government gives someone something, that it came from the government. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The government has nothing until it takes them from producers. The government is a net consumer, not a producer, and any industry that the government engages in drives up the price and dives down quality. Prime examples are public school education, school loans for higher education, healthcare in regards to Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ healthcare.
Many left-leaning people who have good intentions want “free” healthcare for all but either don’t care or don’t have a clue about basic economics. The economics aspect is not just about who is going to pay for all of this “free” stuff, but who is going to provide the actual healthcare. Its hard to know who started the ground swell: Politicians looking to buy votes or voters looking for more “free” stuff.
What most people agree on is that medical care is too expensive, they believe we have decent quality healthcare, and they are dissatisfied with the availability of affordable healthcare. When polls show these concerns and wind people, they are more likely to call their elected representatives to voice their concerns. Some polls will be published and included on the evening news or other news source which will attract the attention of people who have or know someone who has been through a very expensive medical ordeal. When there gets to be a swell for something like the ACA in the news, you might even have people demonstrate someplace they will be seen like in front of a particular politician’s office or even at the Capital Building. Some organized groups will call the media to get greater coverage which builds more support and attracts more demonstrators.
Some polls are designed in a way that we would think is backwards, and this is no mistake. The desired result is determined by a group, and they fashion questions to get the desired data built. Push polling is one way to do that. They may ask a loaded question like “do you believe people should die in the street if they don’t have insurance?” Of course, no one wants to sound like a monster but they ask this question and post results that are a result of the loaded question. The answer is much more palatable. When the results are announced, the very pointed details are in fine print of glossed over completely. How many news consumers go read a poll’s internals? Some of those internals are never disclosed.
You can see from our reading this week what polls are worth. They are used to drive people to take a particular view or vote for a particular candidate.
About the graph below: Some of the questions and statements were too absolute or were just plainly obvious. I am a little more right and considerably more libertarian. The longer I work for the US GOV, the more libertarian I become.
About the below