Monday :: Mar 5, 2007

Robert Pear Misses His Own Poll


by Steve

One of the reasons nothing gets done in this country about health care is media complicity in spinning an inaccurate narrative that benefits the HMO and insurance industries against a greater role for government. Case in point today is a story in the NYT by the country's Number One health care reporter.

In an otherwise excellent story by the NYT’s Robert Pear about the worries of the middle class in obtaining health care coverage, Pear writes the following:

The idea of universal coverage, in the form proposed by President Bill Clinton, proved politically untenable. Since the Clinton plan collapsed in 1994, the politics of health care have changed because of the steady rise in health costs, the increase in the number of uninsured and the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance. Politicians are once again speaking about universal coverage as a goal, though opinion polls show that many voters still oppose the idea of a government-run health care system.

It appears that Pear does not read his own paper, or has an interesting definition of "many voters." Mr. Pear’s own paper ran a story on its latest poll with CBS News just last Friday, and that poll had the following finding:

38. Which do you think would be better for the country: 1. Having one health insurance program covering all Americans that would be administered by the government and paid for by taxpayers, OR 2. Keeping the current system where many people get their insurance from private employers and some have no insurance.
One program: 47%
Current system: 38%

I realize that 38% can be construed as "many voters", but only to someone who is looking for supermajorities on an issue before taking action. In other words, using Pear's logic here, action on universal coverage is affected because 38% are against single-payer. That is a fallacious formulation by someone who should know better. A better analysis by Pear would have focused on the finding that there is now more support for single payer, 47%, than there is for keeping the current system.

Steve :: 8:14 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!