Monday, December 7, 2009

Misunderstanding the Public Option

As I've said before, it's a bit disingenuous for so many liberal bloggers -- including Ezra Klein -- to assert that the public option is the most popular aspect of health care reform.

While that it may be true that polling data shows Americans respond positively to the term "public option," that doesn't really tell us much about the kinds of reforms that have genuine public support. Calling a government-run insurance plan a "public option" is simply a way of framing the debate. People tend to like "options."

The important question is: Do most people really understand the public option?

Finally, we have a pretty clear answer to that question.

Update: One of Ezra Klein's readers opines (via Andrew Sullivan):

I have a slight problem with the graph in this post. You have biased this graph to over exaggerate the relative size of 'No' response by starting the graph at 20. Thus it appears as if the No's outweigh Yes's by almost a factor of 8. When in reality it's only about 2.5. (66 vs 26)

Sadly the number of Americans incapable of explaining the public option is so large that there was hardly a need to graphically exaggerate it to make your point.

I agree. I hate when people truncate the Y-axis . . . but, in this case, it's still a pretty huge disparity.

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