For a while, President Obama enjoyed a revival in popularity after years of public unease and displeasure with his stewardship of the economy and foreign policy. His approval rating jumped as high as 49 percent in mid-January, according to Gallup, and then tapered off a little amid renewed uncertainty about the economic recovery.
In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, however, 45 percent of Americans say they approve of Obama’s job performance, while 49 percent disapprove. That is his weakest rating in the survey since late 2014. The president effectively lost five points in approval since January and he hasn’t seen majority support since May 2013, according to survey analysis.
Analysts blame the decline in the president’s approval on continued economic anxiety at home – despite a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent in April and other signs of economic revival – and the advance of ISIS and other Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria.
The condition of the economy consistently has topped the list of voters’ concerns heading into the 2016 campaign. The economic gains touted by the administration since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009 apparently haven’t been enough to calm fears, analysts say.
Seventy-three percent of those surveyed recently remain worried about the economy’s direction, and among them Obama’s approval drops to 35 percent, according to the survey. What’s more, Obama gets only a 31 percent approval rating specifically for handling the advance of ISIS militants, with 55 percent disapproving. Public approval of the president’s handling of the war against ISIS is 16 percentage points worse than his rating on handling the economy.
There were 18 million military veterans in the United States in 2018, according to the Census Bureau. That figure includes 485,000 World War II vets, 1.3 million who served in the Korean War, 6.4 million from the Vietnam War era, 3.8 million from the first Gulf War and another 3.8 million since 9/11. We join with the rest of the country today in thanking them for their service.
Democratic presidential candidates are proposing a variety of new taxes to pay for their preferred social programs. Bloomberg’s Laura Davison and Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou took a look at how the top four candidates would fare under their own tax proposals.
“The fact is very little medical care is shoppable. We become good shoppers when we are repeat shoppers. If you buy a new car every three years, you can become an informed shopper. There is no way to become an informed shopper for your appendix. You only get your appendix out once.”
— David Newman, former director of the Health Care Cost Institute, quoted in an article Thursday by Noam Levey of the Los Angeles Times. Levey says the “consumer revolution” in health care – in which patients shop around for the best prices, forcing doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical firms to compete with lower prices – hasn’t materialized, but the higher deductibles that were part of the effort are very much in effect. “High-deductible health insurance was supposed to make American patients into smart shoppers,” Levey writes. “Instead, they got stuck with medical bills they can't afford.”
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new analysis of drug prices in the U.S. compared to 11 other developed nations, and the results, though predictable, aren’t pretty. Here are the key findings from the report:
- The U.S. pays the most for drugs, though prices varied widely.
- U.S. drug prices were nearly four times higher than average prices compared to similar countries.
- U.S. consumers pay significantly more for drugs than other countries, even when accounting for rebates.
- The U.S. could save $49 billion annually on Medicare Part D alone by using average drug prices for comparator countries.