We liked health care better the old way, a majority of Americans say when asked by Reason-Rupe pollsters about Obamacare. Across the board, Americans disapprove of the president's handling of health care issues, have little faith in politicians' ability to manage the provision of medicine, and don't think healthy, younger Americans should be treated as milking cows to subsidize coverage for older and sicker people. In fact, Americans generally agree that the chief executive and Congress alike have amply demonstrated that government is something of a deadweight hanging from the country's neck.
Americans still seem divided on what they wish government could do for them. When asked whether they believed "the less government the better" or "there are more things government should be doing," exactly 48 percent of respondents pick each one. But when pushed to say whether "government is primarily a source of good" or "is generally a burdensome part of society that impedes the ability of people to improve their lives," 54 percent said government is a big friggin' hurdle that bangs your shins every time.
That's the difference between hoping for a unicorn, but admitting that you're only ever going to get a goat.
And what a goat. The launch of the Affordable Care Act has done wonders to firm up the public's opinion of government (in)competence. Fifty-three percent of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of the law after its jaw-droppingly flawed debut, with a 47 percent plurality saying it has decreased their confidence in government's ability to solve problems.
Overall, 55 percent say they prefer the system that was in place prior to passage of the 2010 federal health care law over Obamacare—you know, the system that everybody used to hate before they discovered it could get worse.
And it's not just the general outline; the details of the health care law turn people off, too. Majorities oppose prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or charging some customers higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions, oppose requiring younger, healthier people to pay more for health insurance to subsidize care for others, and think low-cost, bare-bones policies of the sort prohibited by the ACA should be allowed.
Not surprisingly, after their interesting performances in recent years, Congress and the president both get lousy marks for their handling of health issues.
If the president liked high marks for transparency, maybe he could have kept them by not snowing the public with phony assurances about his signature policy achievement. As it is, a majority of Americans think he was pulling their legs when he claimed to preside over the "most transparent administration in history."
Well, if you want to see how something performs, there's nothing like a laboratory experiment. Too bad the whole damned country is a laboratory for government suckage.
If only somebody had some ideas for reforming health care without treating people like milking cows or idiot children.
More poll results here (PDF).