September 25th, 2017

Of course the American public disapproves of Graham-Cassidy

Of course the majority of people would disapprove. One huge reason is that coverage of the bill has been uniformly negative since it was proposed.

Yes, there have been a few relatively positive articles as well (I discuss them here and here). But it wasn’t easy to find any; I had to actively search quite a while for the ones I eventually managed to locate, and they were in venues other than the MSM. Or should I say “venue,” because both happened to be in Forbes (here and here). Both articles seemed fairly objective and relatively thorough, and one was by an author, Avik Roy, I have come to trust on the subject more than most.

If the negative articles had been fair and comprehensive evaluations of the actual bill and its potential results, the fact that they were so uniformly negative wouldn’t be a problem. But the ones I saw in the MSM—before I gave up—were surface treatments that seemed to me to be propaganda that glossed over the good points of the bill and projected the worst possible consequences onto it.

Exactly the opposite of the way the MSM has treated Obamacare, by the way.

I’m not looking for negative or positive, I’m looking for fairness, intelligence, and comprehensiveness. That can’t be accomplished if the author has neither the skills nor the desire, and it can’t be absorbed in a couple of sound bites or headlines. If readers are exposed to information that is uniformly negative on a technical subject like a health care insurance bill, most are going to have a negative attitude towards it because few people have the mathematical and analytical chops—or the time and/or the patience and/or the interest—to independently read the bill and evaluate such things themselves. We all rely on the “experts” in the media.

(And then of course there’s that noted policy wonk Jimmy Kimmel…)

So the biggest surprise for me in a poll like this recent one from CBS News is that more than 5% of the respondents approved of Graham-Cassidy, not that so many disapproved. But aside from the approve/disapprove statistics (20% to 52%), there were other interesting figures in the poll.

The first is the number of people who said they don’t know enough to say. Truth be told, that number should probably be far higher. But 28% answering “don’t know”—which is over a quarter of the people polled—is a pretty hefty number indicating they just don’t have enough information to give an informed answer. Or maybe they just don’t have a clue what Graham-Cassidy is in the first place and don’t care—but at least they’re being honest.

Next we have the breakdown of those people, which I think is also of interest: 14% of Democrats say they don’t know, 33% of Republicans, and 36% of Independents. Because I’m firmly convinced that most people in all parties actually know very little about Graham-Cassidy, this indicates to me that more Republicans and Independents than Democrats retain the most skepticism about what they read in the MSM and/or the most humility about what they know and don’t know.

Republicans who did have an opinion aren’t especially keen on the Graham-Cassidy bill, either. But, as might be expected, there’s a division among the Republicans who dislike it as to why they disapprove:

One in four said it has so much wrong with it that it should be repealed and replaced entirely. Nearly half of Republicans were of this view, indicating partisan divisions still run deep on this issue. However, about as many Republicans said there were some good things in the law and only changes are needed.

That’s the split in the GOP between the more conservative and more moderate wings, right there. You can see the breakdown of the answers if you go to question number 22 in the poll. Among GOP respondents, 45% indicated that they want Obamacare repealed and replaced, while 47% just wanted some changes implemented in Obamacare. Pretty much even-steven between the two sides of the GOP. Independents leaned more to changing Obamacare than to repealing it (65 to 24). But even most Democrats generally wanted some changes in it, although it’s not clear what they thought the changes should be. Only 13% thought the law should stand as is; 78% wanted changes while only 6% wanted repeal.

And just about everyone wants pre-existing conditions covered, although I’d wager very few have a clue as to how that might be accomplished without high premiums. And I have another wager: if you were to poll people on what the situation regarding pre-existing conditions had been prior to Obamacare, only an infinitesimal number would describe it correctly. Here’s one of my efforts.

[NOTE: I just want to make it clear that the point of this post is not that Graham-Cassidy is so great. It’s not. But as far as I can tell from quite a few hours of reading up on it, it seems to me that it’s nowhere near as bad as most people think. As I’ve written many times, giving people what they want in terms of health care insurance is almost impossible to do at anything but an exorbitant price, and the issue is a difficult combination of technical, emotional, and contentious.]

14 Responses to “Of course the American public disapproves of Graham-Cassidy”

  1. Irv Says:

    Normally when the country is so split on a subject the congress doesn’t address it because there can be no concensus. The states have always been good at working those things out for themselves.

    Unfortunately Obama and the Democrats forced through a bill that severely screws up healthcare and is doomed to failure. So congress must act to prevent the complete failure of the system but can’t get a majority for any solutuions because the Democrats are no longer in control. So politically we’re exactly where we were before Obamacare but with a completely federalized non-functional system.

    It’s the typical time bomb that Obama and the Democrats put in intentionally to make sure that the system fails without them being in charge. They left the same kind of time bombs in foreign affairs, the debt, unemployment, the unsustainable number of people added to the welfaare rolls, illegal immigration and the racial and ethnic divisions in the country. Also, they tried and are still trying to cripple the new president to make sure he has no ability to correct anything.

    I wish I had a non-violent solution to the situations we find ourselves in but I’m completely out of ideas. Can anyone else offer a ray of hope?

  2. parker Says:

    Giving people what they want when it comes to medical care, and many other issues, is rarely a good idea.

  3. BrianE Says:

    IMO, Graham-Cassidy is just a stop-gap attempt to slow the Medicare for All train.

    The people harmed (economically in outrageous premium hikes) is small. A larger portion of the public received increased subsidies at their expense.

    Most Americans (those receiving employer subsidized insurance) weren’t particularly affected. At least I wasn’t.

    And since “fairness” is now the controlling principle in American politics, Medicare for All it is.

    The argument that it is an intrusion on individual liberties by giving the government bureaucracy control over a significant portion of our lives falls on deaf ears to those who have already succumbed to the government teat. They see it as a feature, not a bug.

  4. Irv Says:

    Liberals have redefined rights in the same way they’ve redefined free speech, Nazi, liberalism, civilization, patriotism and so many other terms so they mean the opposite of what they’ve meant throughout history.

  5. Frog Says:

    “Giving people what they want”?
    As in the decline and fall of Rome?
    Worked out well, didn’t it?
    Somewhere in the distant past these Congressional dudes were supposed to represent us.
    Think of it: McCain has a fatal frontal lobe brain tumor and is still voting; Rand Paul would prefer us to be immolated on the blades of his righteousness, and Collins is a total pretend from the state that used to value self-sufficiency but has turned into a very strange place that kinda resembles California…lots of expensive homes and yachts on the coast, a smugness-exuding Portland, and a poverty-stricken inland.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The Left has been incrementally moving the American Republic toward a pure democracy since at least FDR’s election in 1932.

    As Alexander Fraser Tytler pointed out in

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy – to be followed by a dictatorship.”

    Given the split in the GOP, Obamacare is not going to be repealed. As designed, it will collapse. When it does, the GOP is going to get the blame and, as demographic trends increasingly manifest, the nation will return to the democrats.

    Instead of a dictatorship, a totalitarian left is much more likely.

  7. carl in atlanta Says:

    I think Dr. Krauthammer was right on the money when he observed that somewhere along the way the American public took the bait offered by the Dems back in 2009, and took it “hook, line and sinker”, as it were. We now assume and accept that all preexisting conditions must be covered; that deductibles and premiums will remain sky-high and that the Feds will stay heavily involved. There is no way to get back to the “status quo ante ACA” and I hate to admit it but I think that we’re doomed to some form of ‘single payer’ system within the next few years. As per the left’s plan all along.

    Those with salaried jobs with big entities that still provide ol’ style employer-paid health insurance benefits have absolutely no idea what a disaster this has been for those of us self-employed individuals in Zeke Emmanuel’s “insignificantly small group of only 5 to 7 million Americans”.

    Where’s identity politics when ad where it’s really needed?!

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    The virtue signaling of a few senators have cleared the way for single payer.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    Berniecare here we come. Maybe it will work.

    I hope that McCain, Collins, Paul, et al donate their brains to science. There is surely something to be learned to explain how a person can campaign as a Republican, get elected as a Republican, then oppose nearly every Republican initiative.

  10. Irv Says:

    The real march to the federal government controlling every aspect of our national life started with the 17th amendment that took the election of senators away from state legislatures and gave it to the popular vote. Once the states had lost control of the senate then it became just like the house except with less accountability to the people because of the long terms and the short memory of the populace.

    I’m starting to think that the only chance the country has for survival is that things get so bad that 34 state legislatures call for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention. Already 25 states have called for one but things haven’t gotten bad enough for another 9 yet. But if the left keeps pushing then it’s only a matter of time. I just hope they do it before it’s too late to stop a revolution.

  11. Artfldgr Says:

    Cant make money if your deluded by false information. while mom and pop kettle arent as sensitive to that, finance is very sensitive to that, and anything that puts out bs ends up gone because people use that to make money choices

  12. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The Senate is more prestigious because while a State may have dozens of reps in the house, they only have two Senators.

    That means more gravy and contracts can be skimmed off the top and bottom.

    For every vote in the Senate that can be bought, bribed, or blackmailed, 1/100 is its worth. Whereas in the house, it’s worth less.

  13. Ymar Sakar Says:

    I used to have a more simplistic thinking that the government or military programs would have an easier time operating without Congressional oversight gluing the gears and freezing movement.

    Now that I have seen the existence of the One Thousand Hydra alliance of the Left and the power of Lucifer’s Own behind the screen behind the face behind the State, gluing the gears together so that nothing can be productively done, is tactically and strategically looking more viable.

  14. Mike K Says:

    things get so bad that 34 state legislatures call for an Article 5 Constitutional Convention.

    There is growing sentiment in favor. That will really be a catfight.

    The problem with Republicans and healthcare is that all they care about is tax policy. In 1995, I was finishing up a masters in health policy at Dartmouth. I had gone back to school to indulge an interest after retiring from medical practice. I was excited by the GOP takeover of Congress. Judd Gregg, then the NH Senator, helped by getting me some interviews in DC. I quickly learned that there was no interest in actually having anyone who had practiced Medicine involved. If the GOP Congress was going to write any health reform legislation, it would be written by tax lawyers. Tom Coburn got elected. I would love to ask him about his experience in DC.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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