25 January 2008

How Many Support Single-Payer?

Do pundits and politicians misstate the facts or lie about single-payer and the U.S. healthcare system? Is it because they're uninformed or because they figure they can get away with it?

Steven Maviglio writes about "Single-Payer Dreamland" that "single payer polls in either single digits or low double-digits when Californians are asked what type of health care system they want. Its proponents are vocal, yet few."

Does he also think there were WMDs in Baghdad and that global warming, if it exists, is caused by sunspots?

A number of polls show something quite different than such low support both nationally and in California. Here's a national one by Gallup.

It showed that in November 2007, 41 percent of Americans were in favor of "replacing the current health care system with a new government run health care system," and 48 percent favored "maintaining the current system based mostly on private health insurance." 11 percent weren't sure.

In 2006, it was 39 percent wanting a government system; in 2005, 41 percent; in 2004, just 32 percent; in 2003, 38 percent; in 2001, 33 percent. Those wanting to retain our current for-profit system have declined from 61 percent to 48 percent, with "don't know" rising from 6 percent to 11 percent.

The bigger changes came not between 2001 and today, but rather between 1987. In 1987, answering the open-ended question of what was "the most urgent health problem facing this country at the present time?" only 1 percent said costs. (68 percent said AIDS/HIV.) Today 26 percent say costs. Then, nobody mentioned access as a problem. In the November 2007 poll, 30 percent came up with access.

A number of other resources as well show it's either uninformed or dishonest to suggest only a tiny minority of Americans support single-payer.

1 comment:

Batocchio said...

Nice fact-checking... and good blog title, too.