How Polls Can Be Skewed

A recent poll released just prior to the House of Representatives’ vote on Main Street USA’s Health Care Right bill shows what can be accomplished when enough rhetoric is thrown at a topic.

According to HealthDay News, “Nearly half of Americans are ‘extremely’ or ‘very worried’ about rising costs for health care and health insurance, and a majority place the blame on drug and insurance company profits, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.”

There were many on Capitol Hill who had assailed the insurance companies and their profits, in particular, for rising healthcare costs, making them, in essence, the “bad guy.”
 
The article in HealthDay News continued by saying, “Some health economists say insurance and pharmaceutical company (PhRMA) profits amount to only about 2 percent of total health care spending.
 
“Instead, fees charged by doctors and hospitals, as well as expanding use of increasingly sophisticated and expensive health-care technologies, are the primary cause of escalating health-care costs, these experts contend.”
 
The article, interestingly enough, does not elaborate on the fact that 44% of those surveyed felt that higher costs were due to “more tests, treatments and procedures ordered by doctors due to malpractice worries.”
 
Aside from the possibility of more tests, there is clear and present evidence that escalating malpractice insurance premiums are caused by astronomical punitive damages awarded.
 
Tort Reform should definitely play a major role in health care reform.
 
Nowhere in the poll does it mention fraud or corruption within the medical industry as contributing to higher costs, yet it does exist.
 
More than likely many Americans know that medical offices have two sets of charges. A lower price if someone is paying their own way and a higher price if the care is billed to an insurance company. This is, in reality, fradulant.
 
The reasons given often have to do with payments not being made in a timely manner or even that payments for those services do not ever arrive.
 
Regardless of the reason for the disparity, that is just another of the many causes for the higher costs of medical care.
 
In this fairly balanced article, there is the point made by Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, a service of Harris Interactive. He said, “These findings show how little most people understand the economics of health care. Increased profits of insurers and drug companies (if they have increased at all) cannot possibly account for the increases in premiums. Many health-care economists attribute the increased cost of care to increased demand and utilization, increased prices and the increased use of expensive tests and treatments. Most people, as shown here, do not think of these as the main drivers of increased health-care spending.”
 
The poll results do show that if enough high-profile people speak out against something often enough that polls can, indeed, be skewed by incorrect information disseminated.
 
Over For Now.
 
Main Street One