Doyle McManus on the persistent unpopularity of ObamaCare.

Notable & Quotable

Doyle McManus on the persistent unpopularity of ObamaCare.

Doyle McManus writing in the Los Angeles Times, March 11:

Most people tell pollsters they like the parts of the [federal health-care] law that have gone into effect: health insurance for people with preexisting conditions, a clause that allows children to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26 and discounts for prescription drugs on Medicare. And, as time goes by, Americans seem less worried that the law will have a negative effect on their own medical care; in an AP-GfK poll released last week, most people said they expect their healthcare will stay pretty much the same—a big change from two years ago, when many expected dire consequences.

But the law itself isn’t any more popular than the day it passed. In that same poll, only 35% of respondents said they support the law; 47% said they oppose it. A USA Today/Gallup poll last month found the public closely divided on whether the law should be scrapped, with 47% in favor of repeal and 44% opposed.

Those are good numbers for Republicans. With persistence and skill, they have succeeded in convincing a big chunk of the public that the law amounts to a "government takeover" of healthcare and that it will send healthcare costs through the roof.

For Obama, the numbers are at the least a disappointment, and they could make for serious trouble in November.

In the 2010 congressional elections, the healthcare law was a loser for many Democrats and a big motivational device for tea party Republicans. A team of political scientists including Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College recently estimated that the issue may have cost the Democrats as many as 25 House seats.


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