What needs to be in (or out of) health reform legislation to win the support of the middle class? A public plan? Universal coverage? Taxes? Requirements on insurers? A certain level of premium subsidies? What are the critical elements for health reform to meet the "what's in it for me" test?
Clinton White House pollster Stan Greenberg cited the failure to the meet the "me" test in the 1990s as critical to the failure of the Clinton health reform effort. "The more we told them how good this plan was, the more people thought it was going to cost more, taxes are going to go up, because it had to cost more money," he said in an interview with National Journal last week. "In our modeling, the most important predictor of your views of health care [was] on whether it was good or bad for your family."
Today, President Obama is spending significant time appealing to the middle class for their support. Obama's job approval rating has fallen from 61 percent to 54 percent since mid-June, according to a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which cited health care as one reason. "The health care proposals being debated in Congress are sparking negative reactions, especially from those following the debate most closely. By a 44% to 38% margin, more Americans generally oppose than favor the health care proposals now before Congress," Pew found. Pew reported that public interest in health reform has increased in recent weeks, with nearly a third naming it their top story. About 20 percent cited the economy.