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

The Concept of Rights

In this case, the concept of the Rights of Main Street USA.

Following is the lead paragraph in an Associated Press article published after the ONE TRILLION DOLLAR* health care reform was signed:

“Claiming a historic triumph that could define his presidency, a jubilant Barack Obama signed a massive, nearly $1 trillion health care overhaul on Tuesday that will for the first time cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen and begin to reshape the way virtually all Americans receive and pay for treatment.”

Let us take a close look at a critical portion of this paragraph.

“…cement insurance coverage as the right of every U.S. citizen…”

According to the dictionary, right, as used here, is defined as: “a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral.”

The interesting fact about the so-called Health Care Right is that if one does not exercise said right the IRS will come calling to collect a fine for not passing go (i.e., obtaining insurance coverage whether you desire to have it or not, such as the ten million Americans right now who can afford it but have elected not to purchase it).

So, yes, that does reshape how we will pay for treatment, as mentioned in the paragraph above.

The question all Americans should be asking is: How is that a “right?”

According to the Bill of Rights, Americans have the right to/of:

-Freedom of speech. Our Founding Fathers, however, did not see fit to fine anyone if they did not exercise their right to talk.

-Freedom of Religion. Have never read about a person being fined for not exercising their right of practicing a religion.

-To petition. When was the last time someone was fined for not submitting a petition?

-To keep and bear arms. We know darn well that no one is fining us for not having firearms in our possession. Fact is, there are those seeking to destroy this particular right.

You get the idea, I am sure.

Politicians cannot have it both ways.

They cannot, sanely and logically, promote to the populace that something is a right if a person will be fined for not exercising that right.

That is an interesting encroachment upon the rights of Main Street USA.

A reversal of the norm.

What comes next?

As it is every citizen’s right to vote, will there be legislation (or better yet, a simple earmark to a larger bill) allowing the IRS to fine people who do not exercise their right to vote.

What a concept.

Great fundraiser for the IRS.

Actually it is a double-barrelled fine…you would also pay for not registering to vote.

Food For Thought.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

* to spend One Trillion Dollars you need to buy a million dollar house each and very day for One Million Days (or slightly over 2,700 years).

Choice and Competition and Government

As reported by the Associated Press, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday, “What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market.”

I was not aware that there were no choices existing at present.

Nor was I aware that there was no competition.

As I search the web there are a vast number of insurance companies and when one looks through the healthcare plans offered it seems there are many from which to choose.

What I do understand is that the cost of insurance is becoming higher and higher.

And what I also understand is that there are no elected representatives willing to tackle Tort Reform in an attempt to curtail the rising cost of insurance.

Why is it that people, speaking particularly of politicians at this point, have to make things overly complex and employ smoke and mirrors.

An example of overly complex is that reforming the healthcare system requires that government must enter that field (which, perhaps, may not now be the case, unless, of course, that portion of reform is tacked back into the bill at actual voting time) to ensure people have a choice.

And the smoke and mirrors utilized in this endeavor are ample. One of the best is stating that healthcare reform is necessary for our economic recovery. That is such a blatant lie it is laughable, except that we are dealing with taxing, literally, the resources of every taxpaying citizen of Main Street USA.

It is also worthy of note that AP describes the Obama administration “embrace insurance cooperatives over a government-run plan” decision as “Bowing to Republican pressure and offering political cover to fiscally conservative Democrats.”

Bowing to the other political party…offering cover to your own party?

What ever happened to what the people (those residents Main Street USA) want and do not want? Those who do not want more government, do not want to end up paying for every little thing some politician wants to get in his/her district (i.e., earmarks), do not want government to make decisions for us, etcetera?

What ever happened to the people in the “of the people, by the people, and for the people” equation?

While it is true that our Founding Fathers could not have envisioned life and all of its intricacies in the 21st Century, they did certainly have a handle on people and government and what people in government could attempt.

One example of this knowledge of humankind is from John Adams, “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

Another, from James Madison: “Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people, by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Perhaps each and every one of our elected officials (and their appointed and hired staff) should be required to do a refresher course in Government 101, as taught by our Founding Fathers, prior to accepting their post, their post of public trust.

Over For Now,

Main Street One