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:
- Most Favor Health Care Law or Wish It Was More Liberal
- 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.