Public opinion polls show that a huge majority of Americans do not support health care reform according to all Republicans who debated the issue before the US House of Representatives last night.
As a participant in this huge scale public opinion poll, I was asked the question, loosely paraphrased: “do you think job creation or health care reform is more important for economic recovery?” The phrasing of the question guarantees the desired answer. The Republicans say they are representing their constituency based on the answer to this flawed question.
Economic recovery does not have a single remedy. The question, as asked, does not provide any valuable yardstick for public opinion. The question simply forces the participant to make one very simplistic either/or response.
Please consider the results if the American people were asked a different question. For example, “do you think an insurance company should cancel your health insurance if you become ill?” The anticipated answer would be “no” but this question does not indicate whether or not the person supports large scale health care reform. Both questions are flawed in their approach to gauging public opinion regarding this complex issue.
Authoritatively speaking on behalf of the American people based on this kind of polling is inaccurate in reflecting the beliefs of the participants. The daunting task put before our representatives is to determine how the concerns of their constituency can be resolved by changes in public policy.
Effective legislative policy should not be made based on these skewed and inaccurate public opinion polls. Neither should public policy be shaped by party affiliation. Our representatives must relearn how to extrapolate information from individual concerns in order to make beneficial changes and stop relying on deliberately skewed poll results in shaping legislation.