Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Have the President's Poll Numbers Fallen?

by Dee Newman

According to every poll taken in the last few months somewhere between 75 and 85 percent of respondents have stated that the American health care system needs to be fundamentally reform.

These poll numbers indicate that health care reform is extremely important to the American people.

And yet, in spite of the fact that these poll numbers indicate overwhelming support for reform, recent polls show that a slight majority of Americans are opposed to the plans being debated in Congress.

Though the results of these polls seem, at first glance, to contradict one another, the truth is – they don’t.

The American insurance industry and their conservative supporters (with the media’s complicity) would have us believe that most Americans have, after further reflection, come to believe as they do that a government run health insurance system is nothing more than “socialized medicine,” that it would limit their coverage and increase their costs, and that the American health care insurance system needs only minimal modifications, if any.

It’s true – the 20 to 30 percent of the public who have consistently opposed any and all health care reform measures have remained resolute in their opposition.

However, do not be deceived into believing that the 20 percent of the public who seem to have joined them in their opposition to the plans being considered in congress have done so.

They haven’t!

They are folks like me who fervently support HR 676, the "Medicare For All" Bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers, which is a single-payer, government run health insurance plan.

We believe that the Democrats in Congress and President Obama – in a misguided, yet genuine effort to secure bi-patrician support and accommodate both the insurance companies and the Republicans – have, unfortunately, settled for something far less than what is desperately needed.

We want a true comprehensive, universal health care reformation and not some pathetic political accommodation.

Yes, we wanted “our” President to have “gone for it” – to have had the courage to used his bully-pulpit to sell a single payer, universal health care plan to the American people.

If he had – we may have already had it by now.

Yes, the real reason the President’s poll numbers have fallen is not because Republicans and the health insurance industry have persuaded a significant number of Americans that “Obamacare” goes too far, it is because folks like me who supported and voted for him are disappointed that his health care reforms do not go far enough.

The “Plan” was supposed to provide all Americans with health care, but as the President recently admitted – only a single-payer system can do that and he and the Democratic leadership in Congress took that plan off the table even before the political debate began.

And, that is the reason why the President’s poll numbers have fallen.

No comments: