Field Poll Hits The Health Care Ball Into Left Field Again

I was pretty appalled last August, when the Field Poll reported that 36% of Californians approved of government-monopoly health care. Well, they’ve done it again.

According to the latest poll, Californians trust the government more than they do themselves, to take responsibility for their own health care. While the share of respondents favoring government-run health care increased from 22% in 2006 to 31 percent today, the share favoring employer-sponsorship dropped from 42% to 38%, and the share favoring “personal responsibility” (whatever that means – perhaps “consumer-directed”, because surely government or employer sponsorship does not eradicate personal responsibility).

It looks like my fellow Californians are grumpy because Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to tax them into good health failed. Oh, well: there’s no accounting for taste. Nevertheless, I still think that if the questions were posed differently, the answers would favor individual control of health care resources.

Lowlights include: strong majorities favor requiring health insurers to offer coverage to anyone regardless of their condition, individual and employer “pay-or-play” mandates, and the (demonstrably false) diagnosis that the health care crisis is caused by uninsured patients crowding into emergency rooms but not paying their bills.

OK: I put my trust in the people, and the people let me down. But I still think if the questions were posed differently we’d see answers more favorable to consumer-driven health care. For example, question 16 reads: “Do you think you and your family would be better off if you were to get health insurance coverage through an employer, through the government, or havng personal responsibility for getting your own coverage?”

I’d phrase it differently: “Do you think you and your family would be better off if the government returned to you the money it had taken or given to your employer to buy health insurance, and let you buy it yourself?”

I think a question like that would move then needle.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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