Right answer, wrong method

I remember this class I took in college called multivariable calculus.  There were odd questions that involved four dimensional objects whose sides were spheres.  Don’t think too hard about it.

This class was very frustrating because while I would get the right answer on most of the problems, my professor would inevitably take off lots of points because I arrived at the solution in the incorrect manner.  I try not to think too hard about that.

I thought of this class when I saw the following poll from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

When asked to choose from four dates for which the first health care reform provisions officially take effect, only 14 percent correctly identified Sept. 23, 2010.

“Our survey findings are a clear indicator that most Americans are not aware of how soon some of the early health care changes may impact them,” said NAIC President and West Virginia Insurance Commissioner Jane L. Cline. “It’s essential for consumers to understand what to expect and when to consult their state insurance departments for more information.”

When asked about specific reform provisions that take effect Sept. 23, most respondents correctly identified provisions concerning children. Specifically, 72 percent knew that children with pre-existing conditions may not be excluded from coverage and 70 percent understood that individuals up to age 26 may be covered under their parents’ insurance.

However, half of the respondents were under the impression that employers with fewer than 50 employees will have to offer coverage to employees, and 47 percent incorrectly thought that all health insurance plans must cover approved preventive care and checkups without co-payment.

Wait.  You’re dinging the American public because they didn’t know the date the latest provision goes into effect?  Really?

Quick – what year did Medicare go into effect?  Don’t know?  Does that mean we all know nothing about Medicare?  If I have trouble remembering that tax day is April 15, does that mean I don’t understand what taxes are?

I didn’t know the date;  I think I know something about the PPACA.

Moreover, more than 70% of people knew what was going into effect.  I was stunned by that.  It’s way, way, way higher than I would have expected.

I don’t disagree that people misunderstand the new health care law.  But it’s a stretch to say this poll shows that.

(h/t Igor Volsky)

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