Pew and USA Today have a nice poll out with great cross tabs and more detailed follow-up questions on the Affordable Care Act or ACA, also know as Obamacare. The results are mixed but one thing is a little encouraging: if you combine those who outright approve of the ACA, and those who disapprove but say elected officials should seek to make the ACA work as well as possible, we have a solid majority who want this to work:
Link — This strategic question is a particular point of conflict within the Republican Party. Overall, just 13% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of the law while 85% disapprove. Fewer than half of all Republicans and Republican leaners (43%) want elected officials who oppose the law to do what they can to make it fail; 37% say they should try to make it work as well as possible.
I’ve seen a sort of conventional wisdom take hold among progressives that as more people become aware of the benefits, Obamacare will become more popular. That may well end up being right. But my guess is it will take all the way to the 2016 election before we know.
In the meantime the GOP, driven by the Teaparty base, will do everything in their power to screw this up and then blame Obama for it being screwed up. And in the event it gains clear majority support down the road anyway, their next move will be to not only voucher-ize the program — which is not a heavy lift given the nature of the subsidies and private insurer part of it — they will go on to tout the voucher approach as a stunning success and universal template … to end Medicare as we know it.
There’s two big reasons to worry: public misinformation and political reality. In this same poll you’ll see a result where the GOP is now even with the democratic party on the question of which ‘would do a better job of dealing with healthcare’. That’s down from a ten point dem advantage and of real PR concern given longstanding and increasing Republican hostility to the issue. Which brings up the second reason: the usual suspects are completely boxed in and have no way out politically that I can see, regardless of how popular the law may become.
They are going to hit it with everything they have. We’ve already seen the ACA referred to as an atrocity and scapegoated as the greatest job killer on Earth. After Oct 1 the gloves will come completely off. I wouldn’t be surprised to see headlines and tearjerker videos running cooked stories of how Obamacare Killed My Grandchildren, refered to as a Holocaust or in other genocidal terms, or hear how Obamacare Turned Me Into a Homeless Satanist. Pushing back, correcting the record, all will be important. But imo the number one way to prevail here is to get as many eligible people signed up as possible. That’s not just good politics, healthcare coverage dramatically reduces anxiety, decreases needless suffering, and saves loads of money and loads of lives.