Imagine adult brothers and sisters discussing having their families get together next summer. The total cost of a European vacation for the extended family will be $100,000. A vote is taken, and everyone in the family agrees: while a European vacation would be fun, the price tag is far too high, and on balance it’s not worth it.
Michael Hiltzik looks at this scenario and reports: “The truth is, family wants to go on European vacation.”
This exact type of rank sophistry is on display in Hiltzik’s piece, titled: The truth is, Americans love Obamacare.
Among the many delusions guiding the Republican campaign against the Affordable Care Act, surely the most consistent is the idea that the public detests the law and is clamoring for repeal.
Here’s the truth: The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey. How can that be, when polls regularly show a plurality of respondents with an “unfavorable” view of Obamacare? (In a September Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, the difference was 43% unfavorable to 39% favorable.)
The answer, of course, is that most Americans have no idea what’s in the law.
No, the answer, of course, is that Hiltzik is engaged in rank sophistry. He cherry-picks the parts of the law people like, ignores the part they hate (the individual mandate), and pretends that “ObamaCare” contains only the popular parts:
In the Kaiser survey, 57% said they didn’t have enough information to know how it would affect them. When they’re asked how they feel about specific provisions, however, they’re almost always thunderously in favor.
Here are figures from Kaiser’s March 2013 poll:
Tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance: 88% in favor. [Note this number. I'll refer to it below. -- Ed.]
Closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole: 81% in favor.
Extension of dependent coverage to offspring up to age 26: 76% in favor.
Expanding Medicaid: 71% in favor.
Ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions: 66% in favor.
Employer mandate: 57% in favor.
Note how Hiltzik takes the most popular of those provisions, the provision that has 88% approval, and uses that single provision as a stand-in for the entire law, arguing: “The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey.” How stupid does he think his readers are?! Hiltzik continues:
If you agree with those provisions, congratulations: You love Obamacare.
No, if you agree with those provisions, you like the popular parts of ObamaCare.
But guess what? There is another part of ObamaCare, the individual mandate, which is wildly unpopular. A Daily Mail article in September reported that a shocking 77% of respondents wanted the individual mandate killed or delayed:
A healthcare media company sponsored a scientific poll of more than 2,000 registered voters, and found a stunning 77 per cent want to see Obamacare’s individual health insurance mandate delayed or scrapped entirely. That includes 49 per cent who want the mandate killed.
Just 11 per cent agreed with the Obama administration’s contention that fully implementing the president’s signature health care law will lower their “total health care costs, such as appointment co-payments, monthly premiums, deductibles and drug co-payments.”
I guess I could do the mirror image of Hilztik’s sophistry, and report the polling on the single least popular provision of ObamaCare as a stand-in for the entire law. (“The truth is, 77% of Americans oppose ObamaCare!!!”) But, unlike Michael Hiltzik, I am not dishonest.
And by the way? I don’t need to be, in order to honestly report to you that the overall law is unpopular. As recently as Thursday, Investor’s Business Daily reported that, when people balance the good against the bad, people reject the law — and opposition is strong and increasing:
Opposition to ObamaCare hit new highs just as it officially gets off the ground, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. The survey found 54% oppose the law, up from 50% in September and 47% in July. More than half want the law delayed a year as part of any deal to raise the debt limit.
The survey also found that ObamaCare is having a real and negative impact on jobs.
Nearly one in 10 said that either they or someone in their household has had their hours cut back because of ObamaCare. That translates into as many as 9 million people. Meanwhile, 6% say they or another household member has lost a job because of ObamaCare. In other words, the health law is responsible for as many as 7 million lost jobs.
To go back to our example above, if the various members of the extended family took a poll, answering various questions about a European vacation, you might have 88% who say they like France, 57% who say they like Spain, 77% percent who say $100,000 is unthinkable as a price for the vacation, and 54% who say that, overall, it’s not worth that high a price to go to Europe next year. And Hilztik would tell you that, in one survey, 88% of family members said they loved the idea of going to Europe next year.
Blatant dishonesty. It’s how Michael Hiltzik rolls.