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

House Speaker Speaks Up, Defies Polls

Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, on ABC television’s “This Week,” stated, without any doubt, that if President Obama decides to use the reconciliation method of political maneuvering she will deliver the votes without the support of any Republicans.

Make no mistake, polls also show reform is needed and wanted.

However, poll after poll bring into the open that the majority of Americans do not approve of either of the bills that passed the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The strong-arm tactic that will apparently be used on these earmarked pieces of legislation that will affect 17% of the U.S. economy is not representative of what Americans need or want.

Why won’t our elected representatives listen?

It has been voiced by some Democrats that objections regarding the healthcare reform bills are due to mis-information delivered by Republicans.

There probably does exist some of that.

However, Democrats are guilty of the same activity.

Consider that the bills are supposedly going to provide coverage for some 30 million Americans who do not currently have any form of healthcare insurance.

Yet, one third of that total, ten million people, have elected not to carry insurance, despite the fact that they can afford it. These people are exercising their own free will, as is their right, and making their own decisions about what they need and want.

Not if this legislation passes.

They will be forced into obtaining and paying for insurance, or be fined and/or be visited by the IRS.

This type of political activity, economic ramifications aside, erodes our Bill of Rights.

This type of political activity drastically increases the role of government in the lives of all Americans.

It used to be that when the People speak those who have been elected to follow the will of the People respond to that will.

Evidently, no longer.

As Pelosi stated on ABC TV, “We’re here to do the job for the American people — to get them results that gives them not only health security, but economic security, because the health issue is an economic issue for America’s families.”

If she truly believed those words, then the Speaker would respond to, and support, the People, Main Street USA. She would champion their cause and scrap the thousands of pages of pork-filled legislation that currently exist and start anew with something meaningful and truly helpful.

Instead of ducking their responsibility on Tort Reform by passing it off to the individual states (which, as previously discussed, would become a national matter in the U.S. Supreme Court), the House and Senate should pass legislation immediately in this area.

Taxpayers do not need to pay for frivolous lawsuits that clog the Court system and, in the end, raise insurance rates each and every time they succeed. That is a double-whammy to the pocketbook of Main Street USA.

One last note.

Most of the articles that appear regarding passage of healthcare reform state that “Obama has the votes to pass reform” the way it is currently written.

Since when did the White House become more important than the collective voice, opinion and will of Main Street USA?

Yes, President Obama, we do need healthcare reform.

But not in the current state as presented.

Eliminate Medicare and Medicaid fraud-NOW.

Stop frivolous lawsuits with Tort Reform-AT ONCE.

Then, and only then, should we move forward with legislation that is significant and does not trample on the Rights of Americans to choose what they need and want.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Frivolous Lawsuits (ie Tort Reform)

The more I ponder President Obama’s words at yesterday’s Health Care Summit regarding frivolous lawsuit legislation being handed over to the states, the more it makes less sense to me.

Truth be told, zero sense.

Especially if one of the driving forces behind effective national healthcare reform is to lower costs to Main Street USA.

The insurance business is one of the riskiest businesses around.

Think about it. A company takes what is, in reality, a small amount of money from each of many people and ends up paying out money to cover whatever is insured.

In the health field, that particular cost is incredibly compounded by frivolous lawsuits and tort awards that are way out of line.

In order to protect themselves, and stay in business, insurance companies charge higher premiums.

There are major flaws with trying to pawn this area off to the states.

In the first place, consider the fact that not every state may enact any legislation at all. And, because it is being left up to the states, the laws themselves will vary (probably greatly) and provide different levels of protection.

Unless, of course, it is mandated that all states enact legislation. And, if that ends up being the case, why not do it at the national level?

Possibly the biggest factor, however, is that if a plaintiff does not like the award received in their judgment, even if it was at the uppermost limit a state allowed, it would be appealed. First to the Appellate Court, the the State Supreme Court and, ultimately, to the US Supreme Court, where a decision would be made.

And that decision would affect all states.

Thus, all that would be accomplished by pushing this particular area of responsibility and legislation to the states is clogging the courts with appeals that eventually end up in our highest court in the land for a decision.

As a note, that would, of course, be after each state spent countless hours, days, weeks – i.e., taxpayer dollars – in order to craft and pass legislation. Yet, another cost for Main Street USA to carry.

Therefore, all of this means, in the end, that there would be more burdensome costs for the good ole middle class. (And this is a hidden cost, not covered in either the House or Senate healthcare reform legislation.)

Another item to consider is that many elected (and appointed) representatives on Capitol Hill totally vilify the insurance companies as greedy, making too much money off of the middle class, etc., etc.

Think about this for a minute…how much money does an attorney make who wins a frivolous lawsuit or a suit that awards monetary damages in the hundreds of millions to someone?

A bundle, to be sure.

As an example, perhaps the attorney is working on a 30 or 40 percent retainer and the award comes in at $100 million. The plaintiff gets $60 or $70 million and the attorney walks away with a cool $30 or $40 million.

The lawyer will defend this and speak of all the time and costs involved that he/she must pay out of their portion of the settlement. But how many of those attorneys have to worry about health insurance, making their mortgage payment, putting food on the table? How many of them live in million-dollar-plus homes and drive cars that the vast majority of Main Street USA can only dream about?

It is still this Main Streeter’s opinion that this issue is being relegated to the states because attorneys and law firms are some of the biggest contributors to campaigns and spend millions of dollars lobbying.

Thus, by not tackling Tort Reform at the Federal level our elected public servants are being incredibly irresponsible in this area.

America does not need bigger, expanding government. America needs fair and equitable government representing the best interests of the People.

For Healthcare Reform, that starts with Tort Reform – putting an end to frivolous lawsuits and outlandish settlements – at the Federal, not State, level. And not attempting to rid the country of insurance companies so that we end up with socialized medicine.

If that happens, what is next? Uncle Sam’s Gas Stations?

Over For Now.

Main Street One

House Healthcare Bill and Truth

Retired Constitutional Attorney Michael Connelly has read, in its entirety, proposed House Bill 3200.

I doubt any of our elected officials can boast of doing the same.

Here is one interesting point that Mr. Connelly discovered when comparing the Bill with what is being said and the Truth:

“To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

“The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business, and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.”

Mr. Connelly says more, however, let Main Street USA dwell on the above.

House Bill 3200 is nothing as presented by those trying to push this healthcare reform through.

Again, why cannot our elected officials, who are supposed to be doing everything in our best interest, do something about Tort Reform?

That alone would lower health and insurance costs.

Think about it.

Over For Now.

Main Street One