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Unsupported DNC claims on health care misinformation

Topics: health care , Health care , Health Care Reform , misperception

In an op-ed published in late March, I predicted that misinformation about health care reform would persist after its passage:

At the White House signing ceremony for health care legislation on Tuesday, President Obama declared, "In a few moments, when I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform." For Democrats nervous about political fallout from the bill in the November midterm elections, it's reassuring to imagine that the myths about the legislation -- that it provides free coverage to illegal immigrants, uses taxpayer money to subsidize abortions and mandates end-of-life counseling for the elderly -- will be dispelled by its passage.

But public knowledge of the plan's contents may not improve as quickly as Democrats hope. While some of the more outlandish rumors may dissipate, it is likely that misperceptions will linger for years, hindering substantive debate over the merits of the country's new health care system. The reasons are rooted in human psychology...

Surprisingly, however, DNC pollster Joel Benenson suggests in a new memo (PDF) that "misinformation about President Obama's health care reforms" is "giv[ing] way to Americans' real-life experience with it" (via Mike Allen):

Jb

However, none of the poll results cited in the memo pertain to misinformation, and I haven't seen any surveys that show a decline in misperceptions about reform. While it appears to be true, as Benenson argues, that a narrow majority of Americans oppose repealing the law, it's not clear that this finding has anything to do with a decline in misinformation. Indeed, his proposed mechanism ("real-life experience" with reform) is implausible since most of the changes in the law have not yet taken effect. Absent further evidence, the claim appears to be pure partisan bluster.

[Cross-posted to brendan-nyhan.com]

 

Comments
Marcello Mastroianni:

Keep in mind, however, that some of the health care "misinformation" has turned out to be true:

CBO: Health Care Bill Will Cost $115 Billion More Than Previously Assessed

If politicians want us to believe that they are providing us with accurate information, they can start by providing us with accurate information.

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sjt22:

So the take away from this story is that people are still ignorant. Not very comforting.

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hoosier_gary:

Turns out everything the preident labeled "misinformation" has turned out to be true after all. 58% support complete repeal of the healthcare destruction bill. It's the worst piece of legislation ever signed into law.

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hoosier_gary:

Interesting article on politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38219.html

Turns out that over a million people will lose their health insurance in just 3 months from now because of the healthcare destruction bill.

Isn't this one of the things that our lying president called, "misinformation"? Turns out it is true after all. What a disaster.

What do you think the poll numbers will look like 4 months from now after those million+ people lose their insurance?

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AySz88:

@"Marcello Mastroianni" - So they corrected their estimate by a little bit? Exactly what "misinformation" is that supposed to be make actually true? It still reduces the deficit (albeit less) in the first decade. And that article doesn't say anything about the second decade and on, where the bill provides the really big projected savings numbers.

"Look! Look! They made a correction! So it's all a lie!" Goodness, must be why all that misinformation still isn't going away....

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BarbaraAnnPatton:

If the main media would all get together and
let the American people know what exactly is in the Obama Health Care package, there would probably be a leveling of the white house.
Whatever happened to the real journalists?

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