August 7, 2009

Not News: AFP Runs Stale Obama-Supporting Health Care Poll Done Before House Bill Even Debuted

AFPpicSidebarOnObamaPollStory080409.jpgAbout the only thing you can conclude about the Agence France-Presse wire service’s August 4 “news” item about a health care poll result (“Majority back Obama on health care reform: poll”) is that they couldn’t find anything more recent than three weeks old to provide the result they were looking for. So AFP went back to a poll done between July 9-13 — an online one no less. As NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard would say, “I kid you not.”

The House Democrats’ 1,018-page health-care plan wasn’t even released until late in the day on Tuesday, July 14. To say that the AFP report and its related poll results are worse than worthless to any current discussions is almost to praise them too much.

Here is a mini-pic of the first several paragraphs presented for fair use, discussion, and repudiation purposes:

AFP080409on0713HealthPoll

More recent data indicates that opposition to ObamaCare is growing, and that the alleged support cited by AFP was disputable even at the time its poll was commissioned. CNS News reported the following on Thursday (links to polls added by me):

Last month, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed that 46 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care reform, while 41 percent approved. A Rasmussen poll last month showed 53 percent opposing the Obama-backed plan, up from 45 percent opposed in June, and the 49 (percent) opposed two weeks earlier.

Rasmussen’s polling was done July 20-21 (go to the very bottom at link), meaning that the “two weeks earlier” 49% level of opposition was present a few days before the Obama-supportive poll cited by AFP took place. The Journal’s poll was taken July 24-27. The Rasmussen result represents an astonishing 30-point swing from what AFP touted (AFP was +22; Rasmussen is -8).

A better AFP headline would have been, “Americans Liked Dems’ Health Care Plan Before They Learned What Was In It.”

There are still lingering strengths in ObamaCare’s support, as noted in a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday. Yes, it shows that “American voters disapprove 52 – 39 percent of the way President Obama is handling health care, down from 46 – 42 percent approval July 1.” But, among several troubling things, “62 – 32 percent (are) in favor of giving people the option of a government insurance plan,” and “61 – 36 percent (are) for higher taxes on high income earners to pay for health care reform.”

The “public option” result, though eight points lower than AFP, shows that ObamaCare opponents have not persuaded enough of the American people that the public option’s purpose is be the flypaper that attracts those who either won’t be able to find any private insurance due to a life event like a job change, or who will lose their company-provided coverage when their employers figure out that off-loading their employees onto the government is a cost-saving (and perhaps even survival) strategy. The “public option” is the roach motel of heath care; once you go in, the intent is you will never come out.

The tax-related Quinnipiac result demonstrates two things:

  • That not enough of the public understands the draconian nature of two-tiered tax federal income tax increases currently on the table. First, there’s restoration of the higher rate structure that was in effect before 2001. Second, there will be additional taxes of up to 5.4% of income on top of that. As shown here, these would increase the taxes paid by those affected by up to 31%.
  • That not enough of the public understands that the increases proposed, even if somehow collected (i.e., naively assuming no legal tax avoidance actions by those who do not wish to pay more), are not enough to fully fund ObamaCare’s ambitious and costly plans.

I would suggest that ObamaCare will have a chance of passage if the true statist intention and the fundamental immorality of the “public option” aren’t both fully exposed. Time is shorter than one might think.

In the meantime, the establishment media, as AFP, has shown it will tout alleged support for ObamaCare, even if it has to dig into ancient history to do it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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10 Comments

  1. Question (bolds and italics mine): “How much do you support or oppose the proposal now being discussed to set up a public, or government-sponsored, health plan somewhat like Medicare that would compete with private health insurance plans and sell health insurance to employers and individuals who choose it?”

    Classic manipulated question designed to get a desired response.
    1. Plan wasn’t available to have contrary information.
    2. public and government-sponsored as opposed to subsidized by increased taxes and government-run
    3. Focus-grouped positive buzz words — compete, choose
    4. Wordy, ambiguous, double-barreled question requiring determination on multiple and competing concepts. Useless!

    No internals given; therefore, credibility in doubt anyway ( http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/pubs/Harris_Poll_2009_07_29.pdf ).

    Comment by Joe C. — August 7, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  2. #1, thanks for that info.

    What a POS question. No wonder it’s 30 points different than Rasmussen.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 7, 2009 @ 8:14 pm

  3. “First, there’s restoration of the higher rate structure that was in effect before 2001. Second, there will be additional taxes of up to 5.4% of income on top of that.”

    It’s worse than that. [See Page 197, Title IV, Subtitle D-Other Revenue Provisions, Part 1, Subpart B, Surcharge on High Income Individualal, Line 15 & ff].

    The surcharge is imposed not on Taxable Income as is the current income tax. The surcharge is imposed on “Modified Adjusted Gross Income” which therefore disregards any Personal Exemptions & Standard/Itemized deductions. And the word Modified means that Tax-Exempt Interest is added to AGI. The “advertised” surcharge rates of 1%, 1.5% & 5.4% are not comparable to the current lower income tax rates which are based on Taxable Income.

    Comment by HelenG — August 7, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

  4. #3, thanks for the point.

    I thought that all itemized deductions and exemptions got phased out anyway, but maybe not.

    The problem is that there are tons of different MAGIs, so if it’s not defined in the bill (maybe it is at the very beginning), who knows what it might be?

    Oh, here on page 134 of the original Democrat plan of July 14:
    IN GENERAL.—In this title, the term ‘‘income’’ means modified adjusted gross income (as defined in section 59B of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986).

    That would appear to the same definition as is used to arrive at AMT taxable income, which of course includes otherwise tax-free income and a whole host of other complications, most of which make taxable income bigger.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 7, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  5. On page 174, MAGI is defined as follows:

    MODIFIED ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME.—
    For purposes of this section, the term ‘modified
    adjusted gross income’ means adjusted gross income—

    (A) determined without regard to section 911, and

    (B) increased by the amount of interest
    received or accrued by the taxpayer during the
    taxable year which is exempt from tax.

    NOTE: AMT [See Form 6251, Line 12] includes tax exempt interest for only Private Activity bonds AKA AMT Munis.

    Comment by HelenG — August 7, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

  6. RE: MAGI

    Since 2007 Medicare Part B premiums are already based on MAGI which is defined as AGI + Tax Exempt Interest.

    See: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10161.html

    Comment by HelenG — August 7, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

  7. #5 and #6, Zheesh, it looks like there might be multiple MAGIs depending on what “title” (i.e., section) of the bill you’re looking at.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 7, 2009 @ 11:16 pm

  8. Another problem with the surtax is that large net capital losses [something very common with the stock market slide] are only deductible in the amount of $3,000 in any one year. This could result in a higher income taxpayer being subject to the surtax even though they experienced a capital loss that wiped out some or all of their other income.

    Comment by HelenG — August 8, 2009 @ 12:32 am

  9. These Godless bastards in our government will never keep your funding of this despicable practice out of the “healthcare” bill. They’ll have it covered–either kill you before you enter the world or make sure you do your duty and die when they want you to die. Read Orwell and others–it’s called totalitarianism and its on its way to America.

    Comment by Yourtimeblog — August 8, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  10. #8, that limitation is one of the most absurd things in the tax code. The fact the the $3,000 limit is that same as it was decades ago just makes things worse.

    It’s not difficult to foresee situations where federal income tax, or federal plus state, is 100% or more of a person’s true net income.

    Comment by TBlumer — August 8, 2009 @ 7:14 am

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