With the town hall meetings of the August congressional recess now a thing of the past, President Obama has decided to hold a town hall meeting of his own as members of Congress return to the nation’s capitol. President Obama will address a joint session of congress on Wednesday in hopes of resuscitating his health care reform proposal that fell apart while members of congress went home last month to face their constituents.
At the same time the Obama administration’s health care reform package suffered in the polls, so did President Obama’s approval ratings. The once-popular President has seen his numbers drop significantly in July and August. Even states like Iowa, where Obama’s presidential dreams became a reality after the Iowa caucuses, his number have dropped significantly.
While President Obama does his best to repackage and revive his health care proposal, a new Iowa poll conducted by The Winston Group late last month shows that President Obama has a lot of work to do to convince Iowans that his health care proposal is the prescription that people are looking for.
The Winston Group polled 500 registered voters in Iowa on August 16th and 17th. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.
Iowa voters oppose President Obama’s health care plan. Over all, only 36% of respondents support President Obama’s plan while 46% oppose it. Additionally, 43% of seniors oppose the plan.
A majority of Iowans have a positive view of the nation’s health care system. Fifty percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the current health care system, while 43% have an unfavorable view. When asked about the Canadian health care system, only 24% of Iowans had a favorable view.
Iowans’ attitudes about the direction of health care in the United States is negative. Only 35% of Iowans think that our nation’s health care system is on the right track, while 54% think it’s going in the wrong direction.
Despite the direction of health care being negative, Iowa voters are satisfied with the quality of health care they receive, with 89% of Iowans being satisfied, while only 9% are not satisfied. Additionally, Iowans are satisfied with their insurance coverage – 76% are satisfied, compared to the 18% who are not satisfied.
President Obama’s health care plan is not perceived to have a positive impact on the state of health care. Only 19% of those surveyed believe the quality of health care would get better under Obama’s plan, while 43% believe it will get worse, and 29% think nothing will change.
While most Iowans believe their quality of care will not change or will get worse, 48% believe their health care costs will increase compared to just 17% who think their costs will decrease, and 26% don’t think anything will change.
Only 15% of Iowans think that access to health care will get better, while 40% believe it will not change, and 40% think it will get worse. Even 61% of Democrats believe access will not improve.
Fifty-six percent of voters believe that President Obama’s plan means government-run health care, and 70% of Iowans believe that passage of Obama’s health care proposal will mean higher taxes.
It should come to no surprise that President Obama is now using all of the trappings of his office to revive his health care reform package even thought the American people have stood in opposition to the plan from day one. On Wednesday night, the television networks will all offer special coverage of Obama’s speech, and he will enter the House chamber in all of his glory. There is also little doubt that President Obama’s speech will be full of soaring rhetoric, and he will undoubtedly be interrupted by applause many times.
It seems however that one very important thing will be missing on Wednesday night – we the people.
It’s telling that President Obama has chosen to speak to our elected officials in a joint session of congress, rather than giving an address to the nation. As seen in this most recent poll, Iowans soundly reject the President’s proposal. They are convinced that the Obama administration’s health care reform plan will lead to government-run health care, higher taxes, and no significant change in health care delivery.
President Obama has made a conscience decision to court and lobby our elected officials now that they have returned to our nation’s capitol safe and secure from the thousands of people who attended town hall meetings all across the country during the month of August.
President Obama knows that if he attempts to sell the American people on his health care proposal, it would be a colossal failure. So instead, he will court the 535 individuals who we send to Washington D.C. to represent us. Sadly, while the American people can see through all the rhetoric involved in the health care debate, our elected officials often times struggle when the President of the United States is asking them for their help and inviting them to the White House for lunch.
While it was awesome to see the American people turn out by the thousands at town hall meetings around the country, our elected representatives need to hear from us now more than ever. Please call or email your elected officials and let them know where you stand on this critical issue.
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