That’s Debatable

December 16, 2009

A new study by researchers at UC Irvine suggests that racial bias against black people influences how people view President Obama and his health-care policies.

The study found that 65% of people with implicit prejudices toward black people supported a health-care platform when they were told it was proposed by President Clinton.

When the same group was told the plan was presented by Obama, only 41% of people with prejudices supported it, the study found. Do you agree that racial bias could taint how Americans view Obama’s health-care reform efforts?


Americans have concerns about President Obama’s health-care reform efforts for numerous reasons.

Some are concerned about the government running our health-care system like they run the DMV, others feel the process is too fast for such an enormous reform and others question the timing of new taxes and penalties on an already struggling economy.

Like many other aspects of life, I have no doubt that people’s prejudices could play a factor.

But in my experience, no matter what background you come from, people want the same things — an opportunity for a good living, safety for their family and a bright future. Health-care reform could affect each of these.

Our focus should be on these challenges that unite us, not our racial differences.

Americans concerns about the president’s health-care proposal are perfectly reasonable and fueled by much more than any statistical prejudice.

Assemblyman Van Tran

(R-Costa Mesa)

The UC Irvine study is interesting but worthless from a political science standpoint.

At the least, there is insufficient data to draw a conclusion, at the worst the whole exercise is a non sequitur. Why?

Former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama are more than simply presidents with different racial backgrounds — they are also presidents with vastly different approval ratings.

When Republicans took the Congress in 1994, the result was six years of fiscal restraint leading to surpluses, leaving Clinton with stronger fiscal credibility than Obama.

A better comparison might have been between Obama and Carter, the former president Obama is most likely to emulate.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore

(R-Newport Beach)

[State Sen. Tom Harman did not respond.]

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