Public opinion on the public option

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll is in and the results find growing public support for having a choice for the so-called “public option” for health insurance.  This comes in spite of the shrill campaign by opponents of health-care reform to scare the bejesus out of us with dire warnings of “government control” of our health care and “death panels” and “rationed” health care.

pillsWell, what do you think we have now? We have Medicare and Medicaid (guvmint control of health care) and Hospice care (sort of a death panel — and don’t you think denied coverage for cancer treatment is as good as a death sentence? Who decides that? An insurer. There’s your death panel!) and insurance deductibles, co-pays, denied coverage and rejected applications (“rationed” health care).

Critics have already started carping about Democrats being over-represented in the poll , except that they fail to acknowledge that Democrats actually outnumber Republicans in this nation of ours. Rasmussen Reports quotes:  “In September, 37.5% of American adults considered themselves Democrats. … Still, there are more Democrats than Republicans. A total of 32.1% now claim an affiliation with the GOP. That’s the lowest number of Republicans since July 2008. Prior to this month, the number of Republicans stayed between 32.2% and 33.8% every month for a year.”

What does this all say about politics in America? Well, as Will Rogers famously said decades ago, “I don’t belong to an organized political party: I’m a Democrat.” OK, I’m quoting from memory (Not my actual memory, I’m not THAT old!!). It also says that roughly 30 percent of Americans choose not to claim affiliation with either party.

But back to the survey.

I have some firsthand knowledge and experience with the polls for WSJ/NBC.  It is a true public opinion poll, usually conducted over a long weekend, calling thousands of people across the nation. I have personally interviewed dozens of people for that poll (not this last one), and their opinions truly ran the gamut. Some folks were thoughtful, articulate and well-informed. Others were, um, well,  not. Some of the thoughtful, articulate and well-informed folks didn’t share my particular point of view, but we as interviewers could not inject our opinions into the conversation (a fireable offense — and yes, the calls are monitored).

I’m OK with folks who don’t share my opinion, especially if they can be thoughtful, articulate and civil about it.

But screaming a**holes spewing hate and lies only make the world an uglier place. Shut up already, we’re trying to make the world a better place. And you’re not helping

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