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USA Today: 52% Still Want Public Option in Health Care

In a USA Today/Gallup poll, 52 percent of those surveyed say they want a public option in health-care coverage. But you'll be forgiven for missing that salient fact in the newspaper's front-page article, which appears under the headline, "Health care law too costly, most say." In fact, the public-option response isn't even addressed in the article, but appears in one of those graphs for which the self-described "nation's newspaper" is famous. Here's how the story, by Susan Page, opens:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government's role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.
Indeed, 64 percent say that the new law will "cost the government too much," and 65 percent say that it "will expand government's role in health care too much." But without taking into account the response on the public option, those statements should hardly be taken at face value, as they are in the article. If 64 percent say the new health-care set-up "will cost the government too much" -- assuming this conclusion is drawn from the cost of subsidies for those who can't afford the premiums charged through the new insurance exchanges by insurance corporations -- and 52 percent say they want a public option, it sounds to me like 52 percent think a public option would have been a better deal for the taxpayer. Even if I'm reading too much into my back-of-the-envelope cost-benefit analysis here, at the very least the poll suggests that more than half the American public would like to have seen a more progressive health-care reform scheme. But you'll never guess that from reading the USA Today story on its own poll. Instead the piece reads as a gloom-and-doom scenario for Democrats in the mid-term elections, and focuses on an uptick in President Obama's disapproval rating, up to 50 percent, according to the poll. (His approval rating came in at 47 percent.)