President Obama’s approval ratings have dropped significantly over the past few weeks, at the same time he is trying to push his brand of health care reform through Congress. Whether the drop is a result of recent economic news, or specifically tied to his health care agenda, it will impact how likely he is to get the plan he wants passed.
There are many possible reasons the president is experiencing a decline in his job performance approval rating, not the least of which is because many people now realize his policies have very personal implications.
At a recent neighborhood function a woman asked me what I thought of President Obama’s health care proposals. I asked her what she thought. She told me she is a registered Democrat and most of the time she doesn’t really think what politicians do affects Americans on a personal basis.
She said it is different when it comes to the issue of health care though. What the government does on that issue can affect Americans in the most personal way possible. Health care was the issue she based her vote on in 2008 and she voted for McCain. There were, no doubt, many other Americans who voted for Obama based on the same issue.
Over the coming weeks, more and more Americans will focus on the issue of health care and will consider how changes in public policy are likely to affect them. There are several reasons Americans see health care as the most personal issue and why their opinion of the president’s plan may come to be the issue upon which they base their votes in the next election.
Health care is an issue of life and death. The issue that has traditionally influenced the outcome of presidential races and the approval ratings of presidents is the economy. The economic well being of the country hits voters in their pocketbooks . While economic issues are also very personal, as they affect an individual’s ability to find a job and feed their families, they don’t have the same immediate life and death implications that some health care policies do.
When governments require private health insurers to cover certain types of screening procedures that prevent cancer, the tests may become more widely available to the public, resulting in real world life and death consequences. This is a way government involvement can have a positive, and very personal, effect.