Letter: Senator Akshar’s Survey

Dear Editor,

The results of Senator Fred Akshar’s survey were interesting and deserve comment (Tioga County Courier, May 12, 2021). As a retired educator and library research instructor (some 40 years) who dealt with surveys in teaching college students in Florida, I have seen many surveys and examined the results of such surveys.  When this survey is described as being available on Senator Akshar’s website and the results reveal the choices of 5,000 constituents, I have to ask questions about the survey and its implementation.  

From this perspective, a survey available on a website reveals the possibility of it being an unscientific survey. How many constituents are in Senator Akshar’s senatorial district? What percentage of the total number of constituents are represented with 5,000 responses? How many people had the chance, or even knew about the survey, to complete it when it is on a website? For me, I had no idea there was a survey, so I never completed it.  

Reviewing the results, I viewed a number of issues in which the responses were in agreement with my own positions. Even in those examples, whether I agree or not, the survey results lack a scientific basis. Maybe it makes me feel so good because of some results in which I agreed.  

The question about a “‘single-payer’ or ‘Medicare for All’ healthcare system,” in my view, was asked in a very biased method. The question was as such: “Under the system, you would pay significantly more in taxes in order to receive health insurance through New York State instead of private insurance.”  

There are several aspects to this question, yet the results are very predictable with the word “taxes” used.  It is obvious that the intent of the question was to generate a means of showing support for anti-single-payer healthcare.  

Such an effort is well funded by private insurance companies and big pharma, the huge corporate entities. No surprise about the results when considering the word “taxes” because taxes are not very popular. The results of this survey indicated 18% support and 75% oppose single-payer healthcare. I don’t consider payments into Medicare to be a “tax,” but it is a long-term investment into a pooled lower-risk fund.  

Now at the age for Medicare, I pay, each month, some $140 (or so) into Medicare, after all the years I was employed, and I paid into the system. My question about this is not about taxes, because lawyer politicians who wanted to find tax money often took from such accounts, rather than restrict it to what it is intended to be used to do – healthcare for senior citizens. By stating that it is a “tax,” this gives such thieves the ability to use the money for unintended purposes and get away with it.

In my own experience, having been through an early retirement before the age of 65, the private insurance cost me nearly $1,000 per month. At age 65, Medicare had a far lower monthly cost. Yet, the question in this survey puts it this way (and I repeat):  “… you would pay significantly more in taxes in order to receive health insurance through New York State instead of private insurance.”  

What I am now paying into Medicare is about 1/10th of what I paid to private insurance. The survey question is biased and based on a lie. The results generated yielded exactly what was wanted in order to support the movement to destroy healthcare for all.  

In some respects, I wish there was the destruction of the “donut hole” in Medicare prescription coverage, even if it means there would be a slight increase over the $140 (or so) I pay into Medicare, so as to better cover the medications which are brand name drugs and I end up bleeding my pocketbook by feeding into the pockets of private healthcare’s big pharma with huge amounts. This, too, was not mentioned in the survey.  


Professor Douglas Willet Cornwell (Retired)

Newark Valley, N.Y.

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