Apple Watch Enters Presidential Politics

Long time Apple and Mac observers have been adjusting to ever-shifting reality that Apple is a very, very big deal for a long time now. Apple has been targeted by the DOJ for (utterly ridiculous) antitrust violations; the company has been criticized by the FBI and the DOJ for making it possible for ordinary people to protect their data; and Apple has been a pawn in international politics between the U.S., China, and Russia. But now Apple has entered the realm of U.S. presidential campaigns, thanks to the Apple Watch.

Such is corporate life when you make more money than most other companies put together, and when you make disruptive devices like the Apple Watch.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Republican) pointed to the Apple Watch as the solution to Obamacare, the bugaboo of Right Wing partisans in the U.S. Speaking of his desire to repeal and replace Obamacare, the governor said that Apple watch and other devices will put health care into the hands of the people, thus eliminating the need for government involvement in that industry.

Jeb Bush

Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL)
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

From Governor Bush (via Fortune):

On this device [he said, pointing to his Apple Watch] in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my healthcare in ways that five years ago were not even possible. I’ll have the ability, someone will, you know, because of my blood sugar, … someone will send me a signal it’ll come here, I’ll get a double beep saying ‘you just ate a butterscotch sundae or something like that. You went way over the top. You’re a diabetic, you can’t do that’ — whatever, we’ll be able to guide our own healthcare decisions in a way that will make us healthy. Ultimately, we have to get to a health system, away from a disease system.

To unravel this I think we need to push power back to the states. I think that we should repeal Obamacare if given the opportunity, and replace it with a consumer directed model where people are engaged in making healthcare decisions for themselves and where they’re given the tools to do so.

There's a lot wrong with the philosophy behind that statement—your mileage may vary—but it's fascinating to me to see an Apple product enter the fray as a prop in this particular idealogical war. The Democratic Party was quick to take exception to Governor Bush's vague ideas, too, with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schults (D-FL) tweeting, "I had cancer. There's no app for that."

It's an easy comeback, because she's right. There's no app detecting or treating cancer. It will take far, far longer than Governor Bush's five year hand-wavy time frame before there is, too.

At the same time, there is a seed of absolute truth to the governor's comments. Devices like Apple Watch will have an impact on health care around the world. It starts today with monitoring fitness and your heart rate, and generally empowering people by arming them with more information about their bodies.

That will accelerate as time, brain power, and money get applied to wearables, but the idea that devices will replace the need for government involvement in the health care industry is laughably naive, and that's ignoring the governor's time frame.

Still, Apple Watch is at the center of this discussion, no matter the premise. It's a sign of Apple's ever-growing prominence in culture—and in politics—today.