Americans Are Ready to Be Done With ObamaCare


Is the American public tired of fighting over the recent health care law, and ready to accept the law and move on?  That's what the Obama administration would have us believe. On the eve of Supreme Court oral arguments over the law's constitutionality, senior White House adviser David Plouffe argued that the public had made its peace with the law. "Where the American people are right now is they don't want to go refight this battle again," he said on CNN. "You ask people, should we go back to square one? People don't want to do that."

Plouffe makes it sound as if the public is weary of the debate over ObamaCare. But multiple polls show that majorities of the public are unhappy with the law itself, and want to see it wiped from the books.

At this point, roughly half of the public disapproves of the law on average. In a Reason-Rupe poll released today, 50 percent of Americans reported an unfavorable view of the health care law. Just 32 percent reported a favorable view of the law.  That tracks with most other polls. The multipoll aggregate at Pollster.com shows that 49.7 percent of the public disapproves of the law. Just 37 percent approve of it, meanwhile—and approval has been declining slowly for more than a year.

Public opinion about Obama's job performance on health care is similar: 49.7 percent disapprove, while just 41.6 percent approve. The gap in between those two figures has narrowed slightly since last fall, when disapproval ran as high as 54 percent. But overall, the numbers remain remarkably consistent: Roughly half of the country dislikes the law, and the president's handling of it, while somewhat fewer are in favor.

An even larger majority dislikes the most important provision being debated by the Supreme Court this week: the law's individual mandate to purchase health insurance. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released last week, 67 percent want to see that part of the law removed.

Defenders of the law might argue that some provisions of the law—like the ban on insurers discriminating based on preexisting conditions—remain popular. Is the public willing to make tradeoffs—accepting provisions they don't like in order to keep provisions they do? Not necessarily.

According to the Reason-Rupe poll, just 37 percent reported they would keep the insurance regulations if higher taxes were required. As it happens, roughly half of the law's initial 10 year cost was offset with increased revenues. Only 38 percent said they'd keep those insurance rules if the result was higher premiums. Since the law passed, premiums for employee health insurance have gone up even faster than in years previous.

And what about those who say they would prefer to keep the majority of the law, just without the mandate? The complexities of the severability issue being debated by the Supreme Court this week—basically a question about whether the majority of the law can stand if the mandate is thrown out—indicates that it may not be an option to keep the law but ditch only the mandate. The states opposing the law say the whole thing should be tossed. Even the administration, which has repeatedly insisted that the mandate is "essential" to the functioning of the law, is arguing that the preexisting condition exclusions have to go if the mandate goes.

When those who'd prefer to keep the law minus the mandate were asked were asked to decide between keeping the entire law, including the mandate, or erase the law completely, a majority reported that they'd prefer to do away with the entire thing, according to the ABC/Post poll.  

Obviously none of this tells us whether or not the law is constitutional. But it does tell us that the administration has once again either misread the public mood regarding the law or has decided to misrepresent it. During the last major public battle over the law, prominent Democrats insisted that the law would become popular after it passed, and that it would prove an electoral boon to the president's party. Yet the law's popularity did not rebound. Indeed, a recent study found that the law's unpopularity runs so deep that it may have cost Democrats control of the House in the 2010 election.

But perhaps Plouffe is partly right. A majority of the public doesn't want to "refight this battle again." They want the law struck from the books—and its remaining defenders to move on.

NEXT: Which New Anti-Obama Ad is More Terrifying and/or Bizarre, Rick Santorum's "Obamaville" or Herman Cain's "Rabbit"?

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  1. I like that Axelrod guy.

    1. I actually like that analogy.

  2. But it does tell us that the administration has once again either misread the public mood regarding the law or has decided to misrepresent it.

    That’s a toughie.

  3. The next version of the law will eliminate restrictions on physician advertisements and price competition, right?

    I crack myself up.

  4. I would imagine that most of the Democrats in Congress if they were honest are dying for the Supreme Court to strike down the bill. Because they passed the bill without any Republican votes, they now own health care. Every problem is now their responsibility. It would be much better to have the Court strike down the law and then blame everything on the evil court and talk about the lost promise of Obamacare than actually have to defend the law in practice.

  5. I think people realize, especially after Catholic contraception kerfuffle, that we will never, ever be done with political fights over health care as long as this law is on the books.

    1. Health care is a right!!! Why do you hate poor people and want them to die!!!!!

      1. Why do you hate poor people and want them to die

        You answered your own question. QED

        1. I love poor people. They are so much more willing to endure long grueling hours killing babies in my blood-tinted monocle factory.

    2. we will never, ever be done with political fights over health care as long as this law is on the books the government is involved in healthcare.


    3. I have a thought: Let’s take it out of the political realm altogether.

  6. It makes me sad to realize that almost half the people in my country are so consistently racist.

    1. Only white people are racist!!!!!!

  7. The best ways to win a contest, listed in order:

    1. Convince opponents that there is no contest and no agenda.
    2. Admit that a contest exists, but that the results don’t really matter that much.
    3. Admit that a meaningful contest exists, but the results of the contest are inevitable and so resistance is futile and resistors are on the wrong side of history.
    4. Fuck you, we’ll do what we want to do. Might makes right.

    Obamacare is mostly on #3, atm.

  8. Only rich people, republicans, and puritan libertarians don’t want healthcare reform.

    1. Obamacare is the only reform possible.

  9. This public isn’t tired,won’t move on, and has lots of fight left.
    David Plouffe is engaging in wishful flights of fantasy and hoping that if he makes a big tall pile of steaming manure look nice and tidy the public won’t notice the smell.
    lets go back to SQUARE ZERO and get the government out of health care entirely.
    Prior to FDR trying to make social responsibility into public policy we had many avenues whereby the poor and indigent could obtain relief and medical care. Since these organisations have been subjected to a constant assault of regulation and taxation [either direct or in the form of additional compliance costs for regulatory overhead] since the Great Depression the availability of private aid has declined and the number of freeloaders who have figured out [or been taught] how to game the system has grown at an ever increasing rate.

  10. -continuation-
    A century ago groups such as the Masons and the Odd Fellows had lodges in almost every town. These people were involved in almost every aspect of charitable work in their communities.
    Now most of the lodges are gone as high paid bureaucrats have taken over the work that was largely done [for free] by these socially minded people who did most of their work without fanfare or financial remuneration.
    They knew the people in their communities and were able to weed out the majority of the fakers and freeloaders very efficiently. The truly needy were cared for, with dignity and without being made to feel beholden to some wardheeling bureaucrat or elected grifter.

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