Staff Writer Alix Walker examines the causes of Obama’s slipping healthcare poll numbers.

Alix Walker, Staff Writer
Ideology: Moderate Conservative | Writing in: Madison, CT

President Obama’s approval ratings are dropping.  All of the drastic changes he has been pushing for are gradually starting to evaporate.  His expensive efforts to push an unrealistic health care bill are costing him support and credibility. There is a disconnect between what he is saying to the public and what Congress is presenting in their bills.  The result? Public distrust.

The health care bill has been a continuous headache for the President, who still fails to bring any clarity to the country on how the bill will be successful.  Although his approval ratings are still above 50% thanks to his speaking capabilities, his ratings for overall job performance are dropping, and dropping fast.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 31-28 on Friday to approve legislation to overhaul the US health system, clearing the way for a pivotal vote in the fall.  The House and Senate, set to go on recess next Friday, will head home without meeting President Barack Obama’s goal of passing a major health legislation this summer. This project is a core commitment of the new presidency, and as any politico knows ,when a bill isn’t passed before summer recess it is a sign that it has issues that are unpopular and need to be resolved. Historically, when a bill isn’t passed before summer recess it is a sign that it is losing ground, and won’t pass at all.

Falling support for healthcare may be because of three issues: expanding coverage, new employer requirements, and new taxes.

The expanded coverage seems to be the most important of considerations because it sets up a government-run program to compete with private insurers.  Many feel this is unworkable.  About 87% percent of the country has health insurance and is happy with it.  They don’t want to see it change and they do not want government to control it.  They’re worried about increase in costs and co-pays, no question.

Under the bill, employer requirements mandate that businesses with annual payrolls of over $500,000 must offer employees coverage or pay a penalty to the government, which may or may not use those funds for payment of the uninsured.  These added expenses might force small businesses to cut back employment or go out of business all together.

The third problem is an imposition of new taxes.  The budget office has said this program will cost over a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and Obama is saying it won’t.  Who do you believe?  Like in any estimated cost the total cost comes out to be considerable more than expected.  (Of course this would add to the deficit.)

To pay for expenses, the bill will cut into Medicare and then ration out medical care for the elderly, young children and terminally injured or ill.  Buried somewhere in the 1,000 plus pages is a provision to severely limit what Medicare pays for CT and MRI scans performed in doctors’ offices.  This would force elderly patients, for example, to go to the hospital for their radiology — where there are often lengthy waits.  Patients in rural areas, who must travel long distances to get to hospital-based testing facilities, may be discouraged from getting the tests done at all.

These are the things hidden in the 1000 plus pages of this bill.  Thank prudent judgment by some that this has not been passed.  Lets hope that this judgment will be used over the next few months to thoroughly analyze this bill. Every American citizen has to ask the question “how much control of my life and health am I willing to give to the government?”

My answer? Very little.