PoliGraph: Bachmann’s health care claim tough to verify

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As Rep. Michele Bachmann tours the country testing the waters for a potential presidential run, she’ll be talking a lot about Congress’s recent health care overhaul.

In a March 23, 2010 speech in Iowa, Bachmann said that most Americans want to overturn the law.

“From the day it passed one year ago until today, there hasn’t been one week that a majority of Americans haven’t said ‘kill that bill,’” she said.

Bachmann’s claim is hard to substantiate, in part because she uses only one poll to back it up.

The Evidence

Bachmann spokesman Andy Parrish points to a Rasmussen Reports poll that’s been taken regularly since Congress passed the health care overhaul in March 2010. (As far as PoliGraph can tell, this is the only poll that’s asked the question weekly for the past year).

According to that data, a majority of likely voters said they would support repealing the new law. The most recent numbers show that 58 percent of those polled strongly favor or somewhat favor getting rid of the bill.

But that’s just one poll. In fact, the numbers are all over the map.

For instance:

• A Kaiser Family Foundation poll done earlier this year found that 39 percent of participants supported Congress replacing the health care law with a Republican alternative or axing it all together.

• A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 45 percent would support eliminating the law and 46 percent would support keeping the law.

• A January 2011 CNN poll found that 50 percent of voters would support repealing all provisions of the law compared to 42 percent who would support keeping the law intact.

• And a New York Times/CBS poll conducted three times in the last six months shows that less than 50 percent of respondents would support repealing the health care overhaul.

Some of these polls show that voters only want parts of the law overturned, not all of it.

The Verdict

Bachmann’s correct that there’s solid support for repealing some or all the health care bill. What’s unclear is whether the majority of Americans do, or if they have every week for the last year. One poll supports this claim, others don’t.

As a result, Bachmann’s claim is Inconclusive.

SOURCES

Michele Bachmann, Facebook profile, speech, March 23, 2011

Rasmussen Reports, Health Care Law: 58% Now Favor Health Care Repeal, March 28, 2011

Kaiser Family Foundation, Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: February 2011, accessed March 29, 2011

The New York Times, CBS poll, January 15-19, 2011, accessed March 29, 2011

CNN Opinion Research: January 14-16, 2011, accessed March 29, 2011

NBC/Wall Street Journal Survey, January 13-17, 2011, accessed March 29, 2011

Pollster.com, Health care plan: Favor/Oppose, accessed March 29, 2011

The Washington Post, Is support for repeal vastly overstated?, By Greg Sargent, Jan. 21, 2011

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