Why Health Care Is Killing Obama



President Barack Obama is disconnected from the American people on the ideas behind improving health care in America. Recent Gallup poll numbers -- placing him below former President Jimmy Carter in overall approval ratings -- point to it.

And now so do numbers of additional new polls.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll, which openly admits to polling a heavier segment of registered Democrats than independents and Republicans, puts his approval rating at below 50%.
The "passion index" tracked by the Rasmussen poll has watched the president's "strongly approve" numbers go from "+10" on May 31, to break even "+0" on June 28, to "-8" on July14th. Those numbers mean that 8% more of the population now "strongly disapprove" of his performance/policies, than "strongly approve." Among male voters the Rasmussen index is a "-10" point spread.

And a recent Public Strategies poll reports that only 44% of the American people feel the administration is on the right course. That's interesting because in March that number was 54%. Even big business has a better trend than the president: Four perecent of the population trust "corporate America" to do the "right thing" more than they did two months ago.

Earlier this week his head to head re-election numbers against the third place GOP contender in 2008, Mitt Romney, were dead even at 45% each.

So what happened since May to tank Obama?

In three words: health care reform.

The American people have seen what's in the plan. (Something the president admitted to not seeing last ) And they don't like it.

In many of the polls the voters themselves are not buying the rhetoric they are being sold. Statements like "if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it" or "you will pay less" or that "quality will improve" are now being exposed as less than truthful. The New York Post reported last Monday that even White House spokespersons have said that those statements aren't meant to be taken literally.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has even indicated that the president is already willing to break his biggest campaign promise of all in order to pay for it. (You remember that one, where "no one making under $250,000 per year would see their taxes go up by a single dime.") Such a moment, a genuine "read my lips, no new taxes" kind of moment, is difficult for millions of tax-payers to accept. This is particularly true because such a tax increase will target small business owners first. And it also doesn't help much that small businesses are the ones who create 2 out of every 3 new jobs today.

Poll findings on the issue of the universal health care coverage itself is perhaps most important indicator. According to the Public Strategies poll 44% of us believe the overall cost of health care will go up under the Obama plan, and only 27% believe costs will decrease. Sixty-three percent in that same poll now believe they will see huge tax spikes in order to pay for it, only 9% say taxes will go down.

And just to the issue of effectiveness, 42% believe that health care will get worse, only 33% believe it will improve even marginally. Forty percent believe access to actual care will become more difficult, 38% said they believe access would improve.

The fact that some Congressional Democrats are blocking the version of the bill from even being written for committee consideration speaks volumes.

So does the aggregate picture of what all this adds up to. In essence people began the year thinking that the president's message was going to be something that would improve their lives. Unfortunately for all who thought as much, more have lost their jobs, unemployment is still growing at 10% with new numbers expected this week. And the prospect of possibly spending trillions more, just to have the privilege of making government bigger, even less efficient, and forcing politicians to take their eye off the real issue--jobs--is just too much for the average American family to withstand at this point.

The proof is in the polling.

The president may want to nationalize the health care industry, and he may yet ramp up another week of Rose Garden speeches to re-wrap the details in the warm fuzzy of his articulation skills, but overall, Americans are voting "no."

They're also asking Mr. Obama to go stand in line behind President Carter, and heaven knows how frustrating that must be.

Kevin McCullough is a New York-based columnist and host of  the nationally syndicated host of "'Xtreme' Radio" heard on 197 stations around the country. He blogs at muscleheadrevolution.com. His second book "The Kind Of MAN Every Man SHOULD Be" is in stores now.