Happy birthday Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Today is the one-year anniversary of the contentious health care reform law. How do American’s feel about it? The story you get depends on (1) your media source, and (2) how carefully you scrutinize the numbers.

David Weigel points out that the following two headlines are simultaneously true:

  1. Most Favor Health Care Law or Wish It Was More Liberal
  2. Time Doesn’t Change Views on Health Care Law

Headline 2 is from a CNN article about its new poll released today:

Thirty-seven percent of Americans support the measure, with 59 percent opposed. That’s basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure.

But that is only half the story:

“In 2010, about a quarter of the health care bill’s opponents disliked the bill because it was not liberal enough – the same as today. That works out to 13 percent of all Americans who oppose the bill because it did not go far enough. Forty-three percent oppose it because it was too liberal.”

The final tally from the poll (pdf here) is that an estimated 50% of Americans want the law or a more comprehensive version of it, and 43% want the law gone. Seven percent have no opinion. The pattern is the same in three previous CNN polls taken over the last year—thirteen percent “disapprove” because the law doesn’t go far enough, and 37%-43% oppose the law as “too liberal”.

One must keep the “liberal 13%” in mind with looking at polls that do not distinguish between those who think the law doesn’t go far enough and those who think it goes too far. So when a Gallup poll with a somewhat different question reports that 46% find the law “a good thing” and 44% find it “a bad thing” (with 10% offering no opinion), I have to wonder what fraction of the 44% wanted universal health care, single payer, a public option, or just think the law is a big giveaway to the insurance companies.

Also, I have to wonder how much of the ~40% who oppose the law do so because they were sucked into the bullshit that it “includes death panels.”

Besides being the one year anniversary of the law, it is also the one year anniversary of the Republicans offering no alternatives. Even Juan Williams has a hard time not noticing:

…House Republicans have not passed a single alternative health care reform bill since they have been in charge but they have passed bills to repeal and defund the law. All of these bills, however, are dead on arrival in the Senate making the whole exercise futile and symbolic.

At a meeting of the nation’s governors last month, President Obama called the GOP’s bluff on health care. He challenged GOP governors […] to come up with their own health care plans that meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act.

He challenged the governors, saying, “I am not open to re-fighting the battles of the last two years, or undoing the progress that we’ve made. But I am willing to work with anyone — anybody in this room, Democrat or Republican, governors or member of Congress — to make this law even better; to make care even better; to make it more affordable and fix what needs fixing.”

That includes not driving up the deficit. So the president opened the door to the states, as what he called the laboratories of democracy, putting their own ideas on the table for reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality.

Since then, the silence has been deafening and the American people are beginning to see that the GOP really doesn’t have any alternative ideas on health care that fit the bill.

A shorter Juan Williams: Republicans…all Repeal an no Replace.


  1. 1


    Although fierce political debate continues a year after the passage of the new federal health care law, provisions of the Affordable Care Act are beginning to help consumers and businesses here in Washington. Small business are already claiming tax credits to help them cope with the rising cost of healthcare coverage for their employees, and families no longer have to worry about their adult children being kicked off the family health insurance plan just because they graduate from college or turn 21.

    Here in Washington, more action is still needed to rein in the rising costs of health care. The Legislature is in the process of establishing a Health Benefits Exchange where small businesses, the self-employed and individual consumers can pool their bargaining power and make insurers compete for their business.

    WashPIRG has participated in the public testimony hearings in Olympia where Health Benefit Exchange legislation is being considered, and encouraged legislators to adopt conflict-of-interest provisions to House Bill 1740 and Senate Bill 5445 to ensure that special interests will be kept out of the decision making process; we’ve also suggested that the nine-member board entrusted to design Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange include a health care consumer advocate alongside the state insurance commissioner, representatives from the small business community, employee benefits specialists, and other experts.

    With the new law, we’ve made a start towards addressing our health care problems. What happens next depends on whether our own state legislators stand up for consumers or for the special interests.

    Lindsey Jacobson

  2. 2

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    If you want to lower the cost of health care, triple or quadruple the number of doctors, nurses and others in the health care field. There’s nothing like a little competition to get lower prices for health services.

    Also, in regard to pharma, just accept the fact that no new drugs will ever be produced. Researchers like big profits, too, and won’t do any research if we limit their potential. We’ve got enough medicines as it is anyhow. We’ll just have to get along with the drugs that are currently in existence and accept it.

  3. 4

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Let’s give this Obama bill a try. If it doesn’t work, we can simply repeal it and go back to what we have now.

  4. 5


    @4 yeah. and lets give medicaid and medicare and social security another ten years. if they don’t work out we can repeal them. or maybe we can get our kids to repeal them. what the frack, dude?

  5. 6

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Wait a second. I thought repeal & replace was the mantra of our Teabagin GOP. What happened? Where’s the outrage?

  6. 7

    proud leftist spews:

    Ah, yes, “repeal and replace.” Where is the Party of No on this issue? Could it be that the GOP has lied yet again? Toto, tell me it isn’t true.

  7. 9

    Right Stuff spews:


    Hey limp wrist, is that a threat right there to the President?

    Your betray yourself as a fool, coward and enemy of this country if you wish or desire that our President were dead.

    This is really simple, and if this were my blog this would be my response to you.

    “LD please clarify your comments @8. What are you saying about the President. You have the opportunity to respond to clarify your remarks, do not post any further comments or you will be banned and your IP address turned over to the secret service”

    I disagree with POTUS on many of his positions, but he is our legally, legitimately elected President. I support him as our President. I hope the admins take this seriously.

  8. 10

    John425 spews:

    Yuk,yuk! This unlovely “Unaffordable Health Care Act” now has upwards of 2 million people who are exempted. 4-5 liberal states are opting out, most waivers are for the SEIU and other left-wing unions who are Obama cronies and now the chief weenie (Anthony Weiner, D-NY) in the House who backed it is seeking a waiver for his own New York City.
    Obamacare is already broken because even the unions know it is crap.

  9. 13


    9 – Hey, RS, way to go there citizen! Calling a fellow right winger on his over the top Obama derangement syndrome!