KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Early News Reports Suggest Those With Entrenched Views Were Not Swayed By Speech

A new poll, conducted before President Barack Obama's speech Wednesday night, finds rising unhappiness with his handling of health care.

The Associated Press reports: "Public disapproval of President Barack Obama's handling of health care has leaped to 52 percent, according to Associated Press-GfK poll that underscores the country's glowering mood as the White House made a renewed pitch for an overhaul. Just 42 percent approve of the president's work on the high-profile health issue. The survey was released Wednesday before his nationally televised effort to persuade Congress and voters to back his drive to reshape the nation's $2.5 trillion-a-year medical system. Spotlighting how Obama lost ground this summer, his latest approval figures on health were essentially reversed since July, when 50 percent approved of his health effort and just 43 percent disapproved. The poll was taken over five days just before Obama's speech to Congress" (Fram, 9/9).

Meanwhile, several newspaper report on people reaction's to the president's speech.

The Washington Post/AP reports: "While some were moved to tears by the president's soaring rhetoric, others were moved not at all. Where some saw a new clarity, others saw more vagueness. And while some praised him for reaching out to Republicans, there were those who felt he was overreaching in some ways and not reaching far enough in others. Americans listened intently to President Barack Obama's much-anticipated speech on health care reform Wednesday night, and not surprisingly, their reviews varied. Few said they had changed their minds" (Breed, 9/10).

The San Jose Mercury News  reports "that his words had inspired Bay Area supporters of reform - from Silicon Valley's Democratic congressional delegation to average folks - while opponents said he did nothing to change their minds. 'He dispelled a bunch of tsunami lies and the tsunami sound bites that are on the airwaves,' said Alberto Carrillo of San Jose, a 40-year community activist. 'I really think the Latino community is going to buy into what the president said tonight' " (Goldston and McLaughlin, 9/9).

Kaiser Health News interviewed eight Americans about their reactions to the president's speech and focused on whether the speech was persuasive and how the president's proposals may affect those people and their families (9/10).

The Washington Post reports on reaction in Northern Virginia: "In Stafford, as in other Northern Virginia exurbs, Obama had surprising electoral success during last year's presidential contest. ... But Obama's personal appeal in the region has not translated into support for health-care reform, according to a Washington Post poll showing that voters here mirrored those nationally in their divide on the issue. Overall, 49 percent of residents of Northern Virginia's exurbs called health-care reform a worthy effort, and 48 percent said it would do more harm than good" (Rucker, 9/10).

The Tennessean reports that many locals remained unswayed by the president's speech and "fear it will lead to a costly government take over of health care" (Broden, 9/10).

The New York Times reports on people's reaction from South Florida to Washington State (9/9). 

Wall Street Journal found that people are sympathetic, but worry about the cost of health care reform (Belkin, Esterl and Johnson, 9/10).

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