From Christian Science Monitor:
Enrollment in the new health care exchanges [began yesterday] and the government is partially shut down in protest—never mind that Obamacare funding is largely immune to the shutdown.
The Republicans in the House appear to be getting most of the blame for the shutdown because they insist that continued government funding be tied to at least a temporary delay in the implementation of the President’s healthcare law, a nonstarter in the Democratic controlled Senate and the White House.
I wondered how the debate might be different if 2008 had produced a President Romney rather than Obama. Candidate Romney would have campaigned on the success of the Massachusetts health reform, arguably his greatest accomplishment as governor. The system of subsidies, mandates, and a regulated health insurance marketplace were the model for the Affordable Care Act.
If we had Romneycare, the White House and Republicans would be trumpeting the remarkable success of the free (but regulated) market in providing a wide range of choices of insurance plans in most markets and pushing prices down. That is what choice and competition do! (And, exactly what seems to be happeningnow under Obamacare.)
Democrats might complain that many of the affordable health insurance plans have high deductibles that could create significant hardships for middle-income families if they get sick. The Republicans would remind us that high deductibles help constrain medical spending by making health insurance consumers cost conscious. (In the alternative reality that is Obamacare, Republicans bemoan the high deductibles and the Democrats mostly remain silent.)
Democrats, chafing under Romneycare would hate the individual mandate and the burden it puts on middle-class workers unlucky enough to work for an employer that doesn’t provide health insurance. Republicans would call it individual responsibility; people should be discouraged from eschewing insurance only to put the burden of paying for their care on others when they get sick. Conservative think tanks would point out that the mandate is the lynchpin of any free market solution.
The bottom line is that the main problem many Republicans have with the Affordable Care Act is that it is Obamacare rather than Romneycare. (Well, actually, it is Romneycare.)
The truth is, Americans love Obamacare:
Among the many delusions guiding the Republican campaign against the Affordable Care Act, surely the most consistent is the idea that the public detests the law and is clamoring for repeal.
Here’s the truth: The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey.
How can that be, when polls regularly show a plurality of respondents with an “unfavorable” view of Obamacare? (In a September Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, the difference was 43% unfavorable to 39% favorable.)
The answer, of course, is that most Americans have no idea what’s in the law. In the Kaiser survey, 57% said they didn’t have enough information to know how it would affect them. When they’re asked how they feel about specific provisions, however, they’re almost always thunderously in favor.
Here are figures from Kaiser’s March 2013 poll:
- Tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance: 88% in favor.
- Closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole: 81% in favor.
- Extension of dependent coverage to offspring up to age 26: 76% in favor.
- Expanding Medicaid: 71% in favor.
- Ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions: 66% in favor.
- Employer mandate: 57% in favor.
If you agree with those provisions, congratulations: You love Obamacare. Yet when respondents are asked how they feel about “Obamacare,” they’re against it.