EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
The states that have been most skeptical of President Barack Obama's agenda for health care reform also have some of the highest levels of uninsured people in the nation.
A new study by Gallup shows that large swaths of populations in the South and West -- anywhere from one-in-five to one-in-four individuals -- are currently lacking health insurance coverage.
These same regions also have the largest percentage of populations who believe widely perpetuated mistruths about the Obama agenda, including allegations that the president will set up "death panels" and wants a complete government takeover of the health care system.
According to Gallup, of the 25 states with the greatest percentage of the uninsured, all but three are based in the South or the Midwest.
LIST OF STATES WITH MOST UNINSURED
Texas - 27 percent of the population is uninsured
New Mexico --- 25.6 percent
Mississippi - 24 percent
Louisiana - 22.4 percent
Nevada - 22.2 percent
Oklahoma - 22.2 percent (considered a Midwest state)
California - 21 percent
Wyoming - 20.7 percent
Florida - 20.7 percent
Georgia - 20.7 percent
South Carolina - 20.4 percent
Montana - 20.3 percent
Alaska -- 20.2 percent
Arkansas - 20.1 percent
Colorado - 20 percent
Oregon - 19.4 percent
West Virginia - 19.3 percent (considered a Northeast state)
North Carolina - 19.3 percent
Idaho - 18.8 percent
Utah - 18.1 percent
Kentucky - 17.9 percent
Tennessee - 17.8 percent
Nebraska - 17.7 percent
Alabama - 17.2 percent
Missouri - 17.1 percent (considered a Midwest state)
STATES IN SOUTH AND WEST ARE AS FOLLOWS
South: FL, NC, SC, AL, MS, GA, VA, TN, KY, LA, AR, TX
West: NM, CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, MT, ID, UT, NV, AZ, WY, CO
Compare these findings to those pulled from a recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, which showed that more people in the South and Midwest are prone to believe myths about Obama's health care plan than in other regions of the country.
In the South, 26 percent of the public said they believed the health care reform plan being considered by President Obama and Congress requires elderly patients to meet with government officials to discuss "end of life" options, including euthanasia. Twenty percent of Westerners said the same thing. In the Northeast and Midwest those numbers were 11 percent and 17 percent respectively.
Meanwhile, 45 percent of Southerners said they thought Obama's health care reform included a government takeover of the entire health care system. Twenty-three percent of Westerners agreed. In the Northeast and Midwest those numbers were 10 percent and 20 percent respectively.
That populations most in need of comprehensive insurance reform are most likely to buy into false criticisms of the president's plan is a fascinating window into the current state of the health care debate. Theoretically, the president should be receiving more support in his efforts to expand coverage from those who currently lack it. The opposite, however, seems to hold true.
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