Halloween Health Scare?

In her column today, Froma Harrop pooh-poohs claims that the public option is unpopular. She rags on Republicans for telling tall tales and ghost stories:

Several Democrats from fairly conservative parts of the country have been held captive by tales of widespread anger against what is merely a sensible means for containing health-care costs.

Republicans have filled their heads with ghost stories about the public option. Largely written by the insurers, these yarns are designed to scare enough Democratic senators into killing the concept. Though a majority, Democrats need 60 votes in the Senate to ensure that legislation including a public option goes forward.

Here’s what Americans really think about the public option: Nearly two-thirds favor it, according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll. The survey also found that people believe that President Obama has better ideas for fixing health care than do Republicans, and by a margin of 52 percent to 27 percent.

Harrop states this so matter-of-factly, as if the New York Times and CBS had the last word on public opinion. She must have missed this poll. And this poll. And this one. And this one too.

Harrop might be able to muster up a few more polls showing public support for the public option. But this Web site pokes a lot of holes in the pro-public option polls. For example, respondents in one poll were more likely to favor the public option when it was compared to Medicare. (When, in fact, half of the newly insured would be covered through Medicaid.) And, as this blogger points out, one of the polls that was supposed to show overwhelming support also revealed that only 37 percent of Americans understand what the public option even is.

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