A new survey spells trouble for the White House and Democrats: President Obama’s signature law is gravely unpopular, and getting more so by the month.
On the eve of the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage approaches, and despite a late surge of enrollees, a new Associated Press-GfK survey found that only 26 percent of Americans support Obamacare, the popularized vernacular for the Affordable Care Act.
That said, just 13 percent think the law will be repealed – which is a story in and of itself, considering there is so little support for the law.
“To get something repealed that has been passed is pretty impossible,” said Gwen Sliger of Dallas. “At this point, I don’t see that happening.”
One of the central provisions of the law – the requirement that all Americans obtain coverage or face a fine (or, as the Supreme Court says, a “tax”) – is one of the most unpopular. In the survey, 41 percent said they thought it should be repealed, or more than double the 19 percent who said it should remain in the law as passed.
Obama, as well as insurers and some policy experts, believe that individual mandate is vital to creating the kind of large insurance pools that will make coverage costs more affordable. However, that isn’t happening; as of now, only about 6 million people have signed up for coverage through the federal exchange, only a small portion of the supposed 35-45 million “uninsured” throughout the country.
In terms of costs, here is another figure that is sure to rankle taxpayers: Of the 6 million enrollees, 4 out of 5 qualify for a government subsidy. It’s hard to see the law paying for itself, as Obama promised, with these kinds of subsidy figures.
Republicans in the House have voted more than 50 times to repeal the law – an effort widely seen as symbolic, given the Democrats’ lock on the Senate and President Obama’s stated vow to veto any such legislation. Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare when it passed in 2010, before the GOP won back control of the House.
But the GOP hopes to ride the wave of discontent to a new Senate majority in the November midterms, while expanding their control in the House. That would put Obama in the position of having to veto legislation intently popular with the country, and a GOP-controlled Congress having to find enough votes to override his veto.
Tough waters, for sure, but given the rising anti-Obamacare sentiment, it isn’t out of the question, either.
In the end, you wouldn’t thing a representative democracy should not have to endure legislation that 75 percent of the people oppose.