Bad Poll Explanation Of The Day, More SCHIP Debunking

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Commentary, Health Care at 9:11 am by wcnews

From a USA Today/Gallup Poll released yesterday:

A majority of Americans trust Democrats to handle the issue of children’s health insurance more than President Bush, but they agree with the president that government aid should be targeted to low-income families, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows.

They either trust Democrats to handle children’s health care or they don’t. And if they do they can’t agree with anything the president says regarding children’s health care. Going through the article it seems from the questions asked and those polled a split decision is what was intended.

This question produced an obvious answer:

52% agree with Bush that most benefits should go to children in families earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level — about $41,000 for a family of four. Only 40% say benefits should go to families earning up to $62,000, as the bill written by Democrats and some Republicans would allow.

Of course they do, and coincidentally that’s also what the program does. The higher income levels do not get funded until those at the lower level have already been funded. This question is a strawman argument because it’s asking about a problem that doesn’t exist. The higher income levels are not funded in place of lower income levels, and the decision to fund higher income levels are made at the state, aka local, level, and have to be signed off on by the federal government.

The next question is worse:

55% are very or somewhat concerned that the program would create an incentive for families to drop private insurance. Bush and Republican opponents have called that a step toward government-run health care.

The answer to this doesn’t matter because those two claims are either false or a minor issue.

[Crowding]..although it is not possible to extend SCHIP to all uninsured children without incidentally “crowding out” a some families who would otherwise buy private insurance, the effect is minor and is a small price to pay to achieve the goal of covering children. Extensive research shows that the rate of substitution of SCHIP for private insurance among lower-income working families is very low. Moreover, states have instituted measures to discourage such substitution, as by implementing waiting periods (during which the recipient must be uninsured) and charging premiums and cost sharing amounts similar to what recipients would face with private insurance.

[Government Run]..SCHIP does nothing to advance socialized medicine. This is a block grant program, under which states opting to receive federal funds run their own programs in compliance with federal rules. There is no “single payer,” and the program is not run by the federal government. The caregivers who actually provide the health care are generally private rather than government employees.

The most glaring weakness of this whole poll is the answer to the first question, nearly half (49%) are either following the issue Not Too Closely, or Not At All. That explains it.

for more debunking of “wing nut” attacks on the SCHIP bipartisan compromise see this series at Families USA.

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