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Trouble for Health Care Reform, Obama

Health care reform is without question the issue of the hour, and Our Readers Who Comment are split right down the middle on two closely intertwined stories that show the impact of that subject on our politics.

Obama haters love a Washington Post-ABC News poll that shows the president's approval ratings have slipped on key issues, especially health care, and attack the president for his planned personal full court press to address that issue. The left offers solace, noting that change is hard, and, of course, pushes for single-payer instead of whatever polyglot reform might eventually emerge, if a program emerges from Capitol Hill at all.

As Dan Balz and Jon Cohen report, Obama's approval rating on health care alone has dropped below 50 percent, and he has notably lost ground among political independents.
Michael D. Shear and Shailagh Murray tell us that "Senior White House aides promise 'an aggressive public and private schedule' for Obama as he presses his case for reform."

First to comments on the poll.

We'll start with jack824, who said, "This is the same problem that anybody seriously confronting major issues is going to face. While people will complain about issues, there is great comfort in the status quo. Bush took a huge hit when he tried to tackle immigration. Clinton when he tried to tackle health care. But problems don't solve themselves. This is what leadership looks like."

Independent4Life wrote, "Obama...would be foolish if all he worried about were his approval ratings by polls. BUT these ratings will continue to go down, down, and down enough to get him out of office in 2012 if he fails the middle class of America on issues like healthcare, employment, and consumer protection."

2229 said, "The same ignorant citizens who allowed Bush and Cheney to subvert the Constitution now seem ready to cave in and whine about health care. This country deserved Bush and Cheney; it deserves the crappy health care system we have now. American Cowards. Our new citizenry."

bfjackjernigan wrote, "For now healthcare can go on the back burner for as long as the numbers of the jobless, homeless and desitute continue to swell his approval ratings will continue to fall."

brucewla asked, "why does big media even bother to run stories like this? still trying to influence events? don't you know that a leftist, authoritarian president could care less about approval polls? you all need to wake up, and get back to reporting the news."

andrewburroughs wrote, "...So long as Obama continues to listen to inside the beltway conformists (such as Geithner and Summers), remains intimidated by rabid conservatives at Fox News, he will continue to fall... I predict one term for Obama unless he starts to stand up for the 53% that voted him into power. So far he is showing a lack of spine, a willingness to compromise (e.g. the stimulus) even if he gets far less than what is required."

Mindboggle said, "...The WaPo says that Obama has "taken on a series of major problems." I do not agree. I believe that he does not like this country in its current form nor its past and wants to change it drastically into something else that the American people do not want. We do not want to mirror a socialist government in Europe."

robstumpf wrote, "The American people may have put Barry into office, but they didn't suddenly become socialists overnight. And Barry's administration has made a very large number of mistakes for your typical Chosen One. All of those people who have predicted the end of the GOP for the last several months are going to have some 'splainin to to do after the next couple of elections."

westcan said, "The headline of this article [Obama Approval Ratings Decline on Central Issues] draws right wing nuts like bees to honey, that why so many rightie postings. What they don't understand is that the numbers are dropping because people feel Obama is not doing enough to get his proposals passed... They have totally missed the point, while Dems and Indies have their eyes right on the ball."

To which NiteOwl1 replied, "...This gal does not agree with you at all. That's the problem with Obama too. Instead of asking us what exactly it is we want--he is so arrogant as to try to "tell" us what we want. He doesn't speak for me and neither do you."

Nutjob comment of the day:

JWx2 wrote, "Hillary would still be waiting to see a doctor for her elbow if she was on obama lame health care...she knows it too and thats why obama sent her out of the country...LOL"

All comments on the poll story are here.

Now to the comments on the health care story:

magellan1 said, "President Obama had better answer the question "What will this healthcare reform legislation do for us?" He can press, twist arms, raise his voice, take his gloves off all he wants but until WE hear what's in it and what's in it for US everything else is just so much hot air."

1April wrote, "Instead of cutting a dealwith his allies, how about cutting a deal with the American people. Work to bring our jobs back, eliminate the outsourcing, restructure the corporate tax codes, we will then tackle healthcare reform."

dnjake said, "...No doubt the thought that health care reform is a difficult test for President Obama is also an accurate assessment. So is the expectation that the outcome remains in doubt. But the difficulty is not likely to be a surprise to the President. Its just that his strategy has been to give the different points of view time to establish their initial positions and to get a better idea of the lay of the land before beginning his serious effort to orchestrate the outcome."

mibrooks27 wrote, "...Any moron can take a look at the proposed legislation and see that the health care industry giveaways will bankrupt us in short order. My best guess is that his loopy crowd of globlization fanatics somehow thinks they can gin up the free trade Ponzi scheme again and pay for it. It wont work and this turkey needs to be sen back to the oven - it's half baked."

ebgill said, "The fight for health care reform was always going to be tough... We should have started the real fight, the one to implement single payer in the first place rather than fight and maybe even lose for this lesser plan."

justathought3 wrote, "If conservative Democrats in the House vote against reform and vote against the President, they can kiss their political careers goodbye. Congress has had 40 years to think this through, and they have done nothing but curry favor with the bloated, bloodsucking bureaucracy that is the health insurance industry in the US. It's time."

Realist20 wrote, "Obama...could sit down with the GOP, who also want a new Health plan, and come up with something that workds well, without increasing the budget deficit - but he won't- he will try his attack-those-that- doubt-him... The people are getting tired of Obama on the TV and/or internet everyday and sending him out will doom the Dems even more in the 2010 & 2012 elections."

We'll close with these opposing viewpoints:

CTSKINSFAN2 said, "Mr. Obama can jawbone... on behalf of his ruinous health care plan. Fact is, the CBO shows his claim that his proposal will lower health care costs while improving care to be a damnable lie. The CBO is credible; Mr. Obama is not..."

Matthew_DC wrote, "Every time the government tries to do anything to correct a breakdown in the free market (as with US healthcare) and take away part of an industry's profits, the fanatics on the right say the same thing. They predicted doom under FDR and thy were wrong. Don't listen to them now..."

All comments on the the health care article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  July 20, 2009; 7:46 AM ET
 | Tags: Health Care Reform, Obama, Poll  
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Next: No Mandate for Mandated Health Insurance

Comments

It seems then that US citizens spend twice as much for Healthcare. (17% GDP vs. 8%).
I believe most of this is due to simple GREED.
I spent two nights in a hospital this year.
The Hospital charged $6,000.00 per night.
There is NO WAY that this cost is justifiable (I was not in ICU).
Note that this charge was in addition to the doctor's bill (about $2,000.00) and the anesthesiologist's ($1,400.00).
The new laws - the new Bills - should focus on this price gouging, and not just let it slide by arguing endlessly about the specifics of insurance coverages...

Posted by: PaulH1 | July 23, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

President Barry messed up by adding abortion to the health care. Birth control , yes, diaphragms and IUD's, YES!!!. The public should certainly foot the bill on prophylactic birth control and I support that. But of all key issues to add to the health care bill that will stew independents and conservatives?! C'mon.

Theres no religious bias to my solution , Barry. Make a new program for women by women.. FWBW ( sorta like Fubu)... They sign up,.. they have some taxes go to the abortion fund.. those who need it pay for it like that. I've been with enough women to know there's too few that request condoms and then expect paternity to excuse their own responsibility. Withdrawal method might prevent pregnancy but not STDs and that IS a public health problem Women should be completely and singularly responsible for their state of pregnancy.

aside of rape, ' theres a singular person of 'who got WHO pregnant ' and the egg is ALWAYS required. That's not a public matter. It doesn't take a village to give Margie or Charity a spine about controlling their reproductive future.As it stands, the morning after pill and abortion have become the stalwart birth controls for classist disciminative access and because of pundits of privatized health care ( generally also the same side as Prolife political activists)

Posted by: lucy-fir | July 21, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH Obama continues to insult me by claiming that his mammoth healthcare overhaul will not cause me to pay more money. Gas prices in countries with socialized medicine are significantly higher ($5 to $6 gallon)than the US because the gas tax pays for their "free" healthcare.

Posted by: Spurgeon50 | July 20, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

sorting the particpants: the 43 million - we won't be hearing from them > if they can't pay to stay alive, they won't pay to public yak; bundledm capitalists -insurers, hospitals, drug cos.,towbacco, alcohol, ?able foods e.g. fat ... [i.e. theory: there must be a way to accumulate what is precieved as wealth on the basis of speculating (also called gambling) on what someone else is doing (tip> widgets in space, contact me to buy in); tecknowledgy! the fix it machines! -"Fame, we want to live forever..."; All of those "other" americans with miniscule, crappy and/or expensive HEALTH coverage; the All Holy Saint Americantaxpayer; like galaxies circling their respective black holes so the soap opera congress like all organic existence (e.g. slime mold) circles the drain - stave off the big D for a few more moments, pretending the chase isn't on, e.g. by diddling on the net, and thus include Health, the philosophical concept, as a player. Top Notch health plan follows: you finished reading this now go do something else.

Posted by: littleoysters | July 20, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse


It seems our country just can't get out of this funk when it comes to their own pocket book even though they know we need health care reform. Now that the health care industry is making all this noise about cost cutting and streamlining operation to save the consumer money, the public wants to believe the lobbysts and their politicians that tinkering on the edges without foundamental changes in the form of a government provider option will do the job.
Seems like everybody is ready to buy the line of not wanting socialism. And yet nobody seems to think twice about our Social Security system which is government administered.
This fear about government provided health care is totally irrational and fed by people and industries vested in the status quo. It's totally baseless and fed by fear mongers to the ignorant and uninformed.

Posted by: dotran3 | July 20, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Change is hard, especially when it is being pushed by a black president in the 21st century. Change is hard when people have become comfortable with the status quo. Change is hard when people refuse to challenge themselves to overcome complacency. Change is hard when our congressional leaders put their own selfish interests ahead of their constiuents. They are afraid to challenge the mega pharmaceutical, insurance, and HMOs corporations, for fear of loosing precious campaign contributions that will keep them in their jobs. Most of these politicians, both democrat and republican, are wealthier than their average constiuent, and want to remain so, by helping these corporation maintain their stranglehold and monopolize the healthcare debate. The average American, given the unvarnished truth, want the healthcare system fixed, to their advantage. Not to the advantage of the major pharmaceutical and insurance companies. The PEOPLE OF AMERICA, must rise up and let their voices be heard over the den of the lobbyists, who want to maintain their largess for their corporate benefactors.


Posted by: demtse | July 20, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS IT!

The healthcare reform bill released by the House Of Representatives is an excellent bill as I understand it. It's a bill with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. It is carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. This bill will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. It is also now supported by the AMA.

This is the type of bill that all Americans can feel good about. And this is the type of bill that has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. This bill has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

The house healthcare bill should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind this healthcare reform bill released by the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

You should all now support this bill with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. This healthcare bill is a VERY, VERY GOOD! bill for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of this bill if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for this bill.

From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!

SPREAD THE WORD

Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSM8t_cLZgk&feature=player_embedded)

God Bless You

Jack Smith — Working Class

Posted by: JackSmith1 | July 20, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Time for Republicans and Dems to work together to get it done. Republicans should stop trying to score political points. There is a related post at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?page_id=588

Posted by: carlyt | July 20, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

call it what it is its not reform its take over. reform is what a communist says when he wants to trick his subjects into taking over some privet sector business that's what Chavez and Castro and Putin say they use the words reform a lot come to think about it so does obama

Posted by: getsix1 | July 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Auhor,

Grow up.

It isn't about "Obama Haters" and "Obama Lovers", it is about the issues.

Choosing ones stance based on "our side", "their side", is about as dumb as accusing everyone who does not back your side of expressing "hate". As if we are supposed to be afraid of having an opinion for fear of being labeled "haters", or that we should embrace your views so as not to appear "hateful".

This last election, there were more people claiming to be middle of the road, and more people disenchanted with the two party system; Both candidates claimed to not be slaves to any particular party and claimed to be their own people - only one of them seemed to hold true to that statement, and as a result was voted in.

It does not mean that everyone should stop doing their duty as citizens and just stop paying attention or having an opinion.

A person does not need to be an "Obama Hater" to want to see this bill fail.

It stands for another freedom of choice stripped away, as people are forced to buy insurance with no choice on the matter.

This bill does not exist to make healthcare more affordable, it exists to make CEOs and board members of insurance corporations happier and richer.

Posted by: owl-flavored | July 20, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The problem is not that Obama wants healthcare reform. The problem is that he wants to pay for it by taxing the so called "wealthy". He wants to be the great equalizer. Let's hear something rational from him like taxing all processed food in the country. This way, everyone who contributes to their own poor health by supporting an industry that is trying to kill us...that would be called personal responsibility and accountability. Even illegal immigrants would be paying into a system that they utilize. OMG..that would be too practical and politically incorrect!

Posted by: china131 | July 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

My only concern with the health care reform is that they seem to be funding it with speculation.

They are assuming that there will be huge savings and that those savings will help fund it.

If this is true, shouldn't they create the savings first?

Posted by: heathergreeneyes | July 20, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

---"The United States spends 17 percent of its GDP on health care. If nothing changes, the United States will be spending 20 percent of its GDP on health care by 2017. European systems spend an average of 8% of GDP on health care."

What the above comment fails to mention is that the European systems healthcare-neglect-related deaths which has become accepted by their society. They also fail to mention the restrictions on admittance and healthcare appointments. Numbers can be spun to look good, but no one ever asks the rules, and restrictions... the 'whats behind that number?' questions.

Posted by: SRobbins1977 | July 20, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama has shown that he cannot run this country properly.
His tax and spend policies will prove his undoing.
Health care and the tax and cap scam will cost democrats in the next election.
America cannot afford obama. Simple truths!

Posted by: spiris333 | July 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Just call obama Mr. NO-NO-ACCOUNTIBILITY.
Its time for impeachment proceedings to begin.

Posted by: bobojake | July 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

WHO KILLED REAL HEALTH CARE REFORM
(Who Killed Davey Moore, Bob Dylan)
WilliamBanzai7

Who killed real health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not I," says the greedy insurance CEO,
"Don't point your finger at me.
I could've stopped it before it was to late
An' maybe kept it from this fate,
But the Wall Street crowd would've booed, I'm sure,
At not gettin' their money's worth.
It's too bad quality care had to go,
But there was a pressure on me to keep my loss ratios low,
It wasn't me that made it fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed real healthcare reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not us," says the pharmaceutical crowd,
Whose screams filled the Capital rotunda aloud.
"It's too bad it died alright
But we just like to see our profits sky high.
We didn't mean for it to meet this death,
We just meant to hedge our R&D bets,
There ain't nothing wrong in that.
It wasn't us that made it fall.
No, you can't blame us at all."

Who killed real health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says Baucus, that ring leader of the Senate health care caucus
Puffing on a big insurance industry cigar.
"It's hard to say, it's hard to tell,
I always thought that health care reform was well.
It's too bad for everyman's wife an' kids it's dead,
But if it was sick, the lobbyists should've said.
It wasn't me that made it fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed real health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says the gambling fund manager,
With his Annual Reports still in his hand.
"It wasn't me that knocked it down,
My hands never touched it none.
I didn't commit no ugly sin,
Anyway, I put money on the insurance industry to win, win, win.
It wasn't me that made it fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed real health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says the feckless medical news writer,
Pounding lame print on his medical news typewriter,
Sayin', "The health care industry ain't to blame,
There's just as much danger in any Wall Street con game."
Sayin', "rescission, purging and reneging is here to stay,
It's just the profitable insurance industry way.
It wasn't me that made it fall.
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who killed health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

"Not me," says the AMA whose fists
Laid it low in a cloud of faux socialist mist,
Who said reform came here from Cuba's back door
Where private profits ain't allowed no more.
"We hit it, yes, it's true,
But that's what the Docs paid us to do.
Don't say 'murder,' don't say 'kill.'
It was free market destiny, it was God's will."

Who killed real health care reform,
Why an' what's the reason for?

WB7: The market fundamentalist crap that drove Wall Street into the bailout cesspool apparently works in the health care industry.

Posted by: williambanzai7 | July 20, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The United States spends 17 percent of its GDP on health care. If nothing changes, the United States will be spending 20 percent of its GDP on health care by 2017. European systems spend an average of 8% of GDP on health care.

The House bill is not a European system. Because private insurers and for-profit hospitals will continue to exist, the House bill will not cut health care spending by 9 percent of GDP. But as our collective bargaining power lowers prices, it is reasonable to assume that the House bill would cut health care spending by 5.5 percent of GDP.

A United States health care system that spent 11.5% of its GDP, instead of 17% of its GDP, on health care, would be a health care system that contributes to economic growth, creates manufacturing jobs in the green sector, and helps to reduce our national debt.

Current US GDP is 14.3 trillion dollars a year. Health care reform would save 5.5% of GDP per year. Assuming no growth, health care reform would save the United States economy $786 billion a year. That is money that would be put back into the economy, create jobs, and ultimately generate revenue to offset the federal budget deficit.

Even if you assumed no growth, health care reform still reduces the federal budget deficit by freeing up GDP. According to the CBO, the average federal tax rate is 20.7 percent. So the federal government would take home 20.7% of the $786 billion a year we would save by reducing health care costs and expanding access to health insurance. That means that the federal government would see an extra $162 billion a year headed into its coffers.

It is economic folly to make the assumption that freed up GDP won’t cause economic growth. Under a more reasonable assumption of an average of 2.5% growth over 10 years, health care reform would be saving $982 billion a year by 2019. The total amount health care reform would save over a 10 year period is $8.81 trillion.

Posted by: Independent4tw | July 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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