OK. We all know that when politicians and political parties take surveys on their web sites or through direct mail they really aren’t doing sophisticated research. They ask leading questions of the “do you support laws which make your life better or do you want laws that will make your life a living hell” variety. There’s no reason we should hold Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to a higher standard, but there’s something about this example that ticked me off. And hey, it’s my blog, so ….
Rumor had it the Governor was going to formally respond to the unions today so I was checking out his official web site (http://gov.ca.gov for those of you playing along at home). I then clicked on the “HEALTHCARE” link in the bottom left of the page, which takes one to the Administration’s health care reform site (http://www.fixourhealthcare.ca.gov). Scrolling down a bit I came to the Governor’s “Quick Poll.” Since it may not be there for long (hopefully), here is what I saw:
Most Responsible for Increasing Health Care Costs:
- Employers not offering workers insurance
- Too many uninsured people costing taxpayers money
- Insurance that is expensive and hard to get
- Out-of-pocket expenses that are high
- Medications are costly
Isn’t there something missing here? OK, isn’t there a whole lot missing here? Why is there no mention about what everyone knows is really driving increased health care costs and health insurance premiums? Things like an aging population, new technologies, and increased consumer expectations concerning what the health care system should deliver? A choice of “Medications are costly” heads in that direction, but doesn’t get anywhere near to this point.
Gee, Governor Schwarzenegger, maybe the reason employers don’t offer workers insurance, too many people are uninsured, insurance is too expensive and out-of-pocket expenses are high is that the cost of health care is rising far faster than wages or general inflation? Health care is so expensive that when the government pays the bill (think MediCal) they refuse to pay the going rate. Which means hospitals and doctors need to increase what they charge those with private insurance to make up the difference. Now that’s a hidden tax and my guess is it outweighs the cost of uncompensated care.
The Administration knows this. So why offer a survey that is insulting, misleading and a waste of Internet bandwidth?
The answer is: because they can. And it’s what happens when politics trumps policy. The Governor himself probably never saw this poll — and certainly won’t be seeing the results of it. Whichever staff person added it should very quickly and quietly remove it. A blank space on the web site would be an improvement.
Is this making a big deal out of something inconsequential? Yep. But hey, I feel better now.