Unstable Public Opinion

Joseph White, a professor of politics at Case Western Reserve University, made this interesting observation in his weekend column in The Fiscal Times:

“On most issues, there is no such thing as a stable “public opinion.” People do have general attitudes, beliefs that they can use to evaluate a choice. But often voters hold different attitudes that would lead to different evaluations of the same choice. How they answer a question depends on which considerations have been raised in their minds most recently.”

Therefore the analysts who predict Democratic defeats in November based on negative survey responses about health care reform now are making a fundamental error. The Republicans have shown great ability to raise considerations that push the evaluation in one direction. Yet some of that effort has been encouraged by the concerns conservative Democrats raised during the debate as they tried to make legislation better fit their preferences. They will not be making those arguments as they run for reelection. In the election campaign there would be far more spending on ads to defend the legislation. The press coverage may focus more on the actual provisions of the bill as opposed to the GOP charges. But focusing on the actual specifics will only be possible if there is a law that passed and can be defended. Democrats have to be able to point to something and say: “this is what we did, this is the truth about it, this is how it would help you.”

The Democrats also have to remember that the “losers who can’t deliver” consideration will be far more prominent in November if they pass nothing now. In short, the battle over interpretation of the health care reform effort has only begun. We do not know how it will turn out in November, but there are good reasons to believe the Democrats are better off fighting it with a new law in hand.”

Merrill Goozner has been writing about economics and health care for many years. The former chief economics correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Merrill has written for a long list of publications including the New York Times, The American Prospect and The Washington Post. His most recent book, “The $800 Million Dollar Pill – The Truth Behind the Cost of New Drugs ” (University of California Press, 2004) has won acclaim from critics for its treatment of the issues facing the health care system and the pharmaceutical industry in particular. You can read more pieces by Merrill at  Gooznews.com.

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  1. Government Agency Abuse

    At the state level all Nursing facilities were shut down for the states inability to provide appropriate care. Residents were treated like Jews in a concentration camp. To all the families whose loved ones were treated in such a deplorable manner were never compensated for the abuse their loved ones suffered. The only compensation was the states of America closed the doors of their facilities. In retaliation the states decided that all skilled nursing facilities must be inspected. Regardless of how ridiculous an accusation is the state swoops in like a vulture to suck funds from these establishments. Supposedly they do this because of the high amount of abuse that occurs in nursing facilities. This is in most cases is not true. It is imperative for a regulation committee to examine nursing homes for a variety of reasons including quality, this is good because God forbid a privately owned and operated home treat residents as the states once did or a larger organization does. The bigger the nursing homes organization is the less likely they are inspected. It is obvious why… contributions and donations and the same reason why Hospitals are not more closely looked at and ridiculed and fined by the state. Those are the types of facilities where the true abuses occur and where the state should appropriate their funds from. There is an established protocol used by the inspection teams that really is never followed. There primary goal is not a residents care or mistreatment, they inspect primarily to suck funds from these establishments. During inspections the teams interview residents, family members, administrative and care staff digging for any reason at all to appropriate funds from these facilities. Clinical records are usually reviewed and often records from years past supposedly to determine if quality care is being provided to residents even though those records have no bearing on why they are there to begin with. The inspection is just an easy way for the state to get a free check if what they ask for is not found. If an employee fails to document something the owners are held responsible for the employees mistake even though that is not even the reason the inspectors are there to begin with. The truth is when abuse occurs it is usually at the hands of an employee not the owner of these facilities. Something should be done to protect these owners from employee abuse and the employee should be the one fined. Of course that will never happen because the funds are not there for the taking. Often resident’s family members will file a complaint simply because they are a devious human being because someone said something to them about their rude behavior or something they did. Thanks to some resident’s family member or a disgruntled x-employees vengeful and spiteful nature these facilities lose millions if not billions of dollars a year to the state based off of false accusations. The State Inspectors act like bullies who abuse their authority as a means to suck funds for the state they operate in. I am truly disgusted with our state and federal government. Everything in life revolves around money which only hurts the people of our country who reside in these facilities whose sole purpose is to provide care for them because there family won’t. All government agencies act as Kings of the past who live high on the hog off the labor and sacrifices of us all. This goes the same for BWC. Americans are crippled and not compensated by the organizations that were created for them. Any time there are profits and or funds the Government will profit off those funds at the expense and suffering of the people the funds were created for. We will always be peasants beneath those who have power that they get by stealing from us all. If we attempt or try to take from them what they take from us it is called blackmail, fraud or theft and we go to jail. They will never be held accountable for their lies, theft, and deceit of The American People and the truth is we can’t do anything about it.

    This is why people say life sucks, shit happens, life’s a bitch and then we die, it is the gospel truth. This is why we Blog.

  2. I think the political calculation goes something like this…
    The Republicans are putting all their chips on “No”. They think that they will gain by preventing the Dems from doing anything so they can be branded as ineffective. They are branding the Dems as socialist, government loving surrender monkeys.
    The Dems can either surrender and do nothing (helped by the Repubs) or they can get their act together and pass Health Care reform. Passing reform looks like the best option. They already have been labeled socialist, etc. and that won’t go away if reform fails so they are best off passing reform.
    After reform has passed, people will see the real benefits of the bill and the Repubs fear mongering will be less effective. Passing reform is a win for the Dems and a loss for the Repubs.