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Current News in the Political Arena

Survey Results on Healthcare Reform

Early Sept:   Rasmussen writes"Despite President Barack Obama’s promise that any health care reform legislation will be deficit-neutral, 68% of voters nationwide say that passage of the Congressional health care reform legislation is likely to create larger deficits.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 10% believe the legislation will reduce the deficit while 14% say it will have no impact. Eight percent (8%) are not sure.

Of the priorities outlined by the President earlier this year, 40% say that deficit reduction is the most important. Twenty-one percent (21%) say health care reform should be the top priority. While deficit reduction is number one for a plurality of voters, it is also seen as the Presidential objective least likely to be achieved."

August:  Recent Gallup Poll shows that the populace is nervous about healthcare reform with such large costs and deficits.  There is also a falling confidence in Obama and a low confidence in Congress.  

Also some insight into the what was learned over this summer, in a video from WSJ:


All of this is taking a toll on President Obama's approval numbers and support for his health reform ideas. The New York Times pulled an interesting stunt. It posted an article headlined, "Poll Shows Obama's Clout on Health Care Is Eroding," but a few hours later when I pulled the article up again the editors had changed it to, "New Poll Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan." I guess the editors thought the first version was too harsh on the Messiah. In any case, the poll itself found the president's approval ratings have dropped 10 points to 58 percent and that "69 percent of respondents in the poll said they were concerned that the quality of their own care would decline if the government created a program that covers everyone." But as usual with The New York Times, they don't give you the poll itself, just their interpretation of it.

SOURCE: New York Times

MSNBC is a bit more informative. Its article says, "Poll: Obama loses ground on health care." It cites an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey that finds, "Pluralities now say that the president's health care plan is a bad idea, and that it will result in the quality of their care getting worse. What's more, just four in 10 approve of his handling on the issue." It puts his approval rating at 53 percent and says 36 percent now support his health care while 42 percent oppose it.


National Public Radio also conducted a survey and found 47 percent now oppose the plan while 42 percent support it. And Pew Research did a poll finding 44 percent oppose and 38 percent support "the health care proposals being discussed in Congress."

SOURCE: Real Clear Politics

Rasmussen's daily tracking poll of likely voters is downright grim for the president. It finds 28 percent "strongly approve" of his performance while 40 percent "strongly disapprove," for a net negative 12 percent. The latest survey also finds that, "Just 23 percent believe health care costs will go down if health care reform is passed. Most (53 percent) expect prices would rise."

SOURCE: Rasmussen Reports

On the other hand, there is gold old Time magazine, which also conducted a survey. But this one polled half again as many Democrats as Republicans (at least they revealed that information, unlike The New York Times). Even they could only come up with an even split of "46 percent to 46 percent, when asked if they approved or disapproved of Obama's handling of health care." Other than that they found, "On the details of the plan, respondents remained supportive of many of the rough outlines of the health-reform effort as originally described by President Obama." When it got more personal, even this heavily Democratic poll group was worried about the effect on their own lives. "By significant margins, survey respondents said they believe the final health-reform legislation is likely to raise health-care costs in the long run (62 percent), make everything about health care more complicated (65 percent) and offer less freedom to choose doctors and coverage (56 percent)."

SOURCE: Time Magazine Survey


An article from WSJ had the following to say:

I think the plan is being slowed and may well be stopped not by ideology, or even by philosophy in a strict sense, but by simple American common sense. I suspect voters, the past few weeks, have been giving themselves an internal Q-and-A that goes something like this:

Will whatever health care bill is produced by Congress increase the deficit? “Of course.” Will it mean tax increases? “Of course.” Will it mean new fees or fines? “Probably.” Can I afford it right now? “No, I’m already getting clobbered.” Will it make the marketplace freer and better? “Probably not.” Is our health care system in crisis? “Yeah, it has been for years.” Is it the most pressing crisis right now? “No, the economy is.” Will a health-care bill improve the economy? “I doubt it.”

The White House misread the national mood. The problem isn’t that they didn’t “bend the curve,” or didn’t sell it right. The problem is that the national mood has changed since the president was elected. Back then the mood was “change is for the good.” But that altered as the full implications of the financial crash seeped in. The crash gave everyone a diminished sense of their own margin for error. It gave them a diminished sense of their country’s margin for error. Americans are not in a chance-taking mood. They’re not in a spending mood, not after the unprecedented spending of the past year, from the end of the Bush era through the first six months of Obama. Here the Congressional Budget Office report that a health care bill would not save money but would instead cost more than a trillion dollars in the next decade was decisive. People say bureaucrats never do anything. The bureaucrats of CBO might have killed health care.


A poll by the Washington Post and ABC News conducted June 18-21, 2009 showed that 84 percent of respondents were "very" or "somewhat" concerned that "current efforts to reform the health care system" would increase their health care costs. The survey also showed that 79 percent of respondents were concerned that current efforts would limit their choices of doctors or medical treatments. 

Post/ABC poll reported that 49% of Americans approve of his handling of health care while 44% disapprove. What many people missed is that those who strongly disapprove of the president’s approach on health care now outnumber those who strongly approve by 33% to 25%. That presages further decline. Already, 49% of independents disapprove of the president’s approach, up from 30% in April, a staggering shift in 11 weeks.


Rowe, WSJ, Jul 23 also wrote:  Another batch of bad news came this week as Democratic governors from Colorado, Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington joined GOP colleagues at the National Governors Association summer meeting to blast the administration for plans to shift millions of families into Medicaid. That could stick states with $440 billion in new costs over the next decade.


The Employer Health Reform Survey      from Alethos Press LLC conducted a national survey of employers concerning their attitude toward various health reform initiatives currently moving through Congress. The survey began on June 1, 2009 and concluded on July 1, 2009. Preliminary Survey Results     These numbers are drawn from summary raw survey data.

Since so many of the respondents were owners/CEOs, COOs, and CFOs, we plan to create a subset to study their responses.     Employers see the primary health care problem as cost. They want to retain control over their health plans, and strongly reject an increased role for the federal government. They prefer to cover their own employees with plans in which the employer plays a central role. They reject the idea of a federal or state based Health Insurance Exchange, and indicate an unwillingness to cooperate with it, should it become law.     

Survey results will be audited and approved by TRL Consulting, LLC, a St. Paul-based licensed actuarial firm. We will publish these results around August 1, as a one-page article, and a longer version, complete with tables and such. Demographics: There were 1152 responses, from across the country.

 ·    62.3 percent (718) were from business owners, CEOs, COOs, or CFOs.       o    44 percent (507) were from business owners. ·    78 percent of these businesses have operated for more than 10 years.

 ·    90.8 percent offer a health benefit to full time employees.

General attitudes about reform:     

Employers believe the key health care reform issue is cost (83 percent), with 8.3 percent concerned about the uninsured rate. It should follow, then, that reducing the cost of care and, by extension, health insurance, is the best way to reduce the number of uninsured.     Almost all employers (88.7 percent) want to retain tax deductibility of employer-sponsored health insurance. And they oppose the idea of government insuring their employee's children (86.1 percent).     

Employers resist more federal control over health care. They oppose mandates (71.5 percent) and overwhelmingly reject the idea of a federal health board designing a benefit package (90.7 percent), and limiting their choice of health plans (95.7 percent). Employers want to retain the right to choose a health plan for their employees (93.7 percent).

About a Federal Health Insurance Exchange They strongly resist the idea of having to purchase health insurance through a Health Insurance Exchange (90.7 percent). Neither do they want to be responsible for the accounting and premium payments to an Exchange (82.7 percent).

You may use this data now, but be sure to indicate it is preliminary. The final version's conclusion should support the above, but there will be even more dramatic findings, we believe.


Dave Racer, MLitt Alethos Press LLC