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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Unpopularity of Obamacare

At The Washington Post, Scott Clement and Chris Cillizza write of Obamacare's unpopularity.
A new high of 55 percent disapproves of the law in a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll. And the Kaiser Family Foundation's tracking poll, a Post-ABC poll and a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week all found little lasting changes from earlier this year -- when the law was at the heart of its implementation struggles.
The stagnant numbers would seem to fly in the face of the strong publicity the law earned by passing 7 million and then 8 million sign-ups. For a law that had experienced almost nothing but bad news for months, one would think a little good news would lead to at least a little recovery.
And some polls initially suggested that might be the case. But whatever momentum the law carried from the sign-ups announcement -- and a later projection that it will actually cost less than previously thought -- has gone by the wayside.
The stark numbers are bad news for Democrats, but they also shouldn't be surprising. Attitudes on the law have not fluctuated much since its passage in 2010 and are deeply entwined with long-held partisan loyalties, helped along by a highly political public debate.
What's more, Americans' biggest complaints about the health law are pretty well etched in stone. They existed well before the Web site's troubles, and the number of Americans who sign up for the law was never the root of the opposition. This was laid out clearly in the new Pew poll.
Pew asked those who disapproved of the law the major reasons for their opposition:
  • 80 percent said a major reason for their opposition was "too much government involvement in health care"
  • 76 percent said the law is "too expensive for the country"
  • 58 percent cited the law's requirement that everyone must have health insurance
  • 57 percent feared their "own health care may suffer"