Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Obamacare is not actually unpopular

I have been saying all along that people know they're supposed to hate it, but they don't know why. Michael Saks on the Health Affairs blog has a lot of interesting observations.

The first is that when people are asked what they actually want to happen with the ACA, 28 percent want it expanded. They disapprove of it because it doesn't go far enough, i.e. no public option or they are single payer advocates. Only 38 percent actually want it repealed or replaced with a Republican plan -- and since the Republicans haven't come up with any, I guess that also just means repealed. So it isn't unpopular after all.

But what about the people who really do think it "creates too much government involvement in health care," which is what a bare majority of people who disapprove do think. As Saks points out, it creates much less government involvement than does Medicare, and Medicare is overwhelmingly popular. So what's the disconnect? Easy. They don't know what is actually in the act. As we already know. More than a third think it contains death panels or other provisions it does not. Basically, people are just reflexively against government, or at least against Democrats.

When read lists of actual provisions that are in the act, overwhelming majorities are favorable. And, although majorities say they don't like the individual mandate, once it is actually explained to people, they end up supporting it.

So here's my question: Why won't Democratic candidates for office, including Mr. Obama, stand up and publicly mount a full-throated defense? It's a winning issue. The radio silence on this was devastating in 2010, and it's not helping now. Take credit for it, help people understand it, and promise to make it even better. That's the way to a House majority.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

A friend of mine has answered your closing question this way:

While Republicans are evil, Democrats are just grossly incompetent.