March 23 2011

Not-So-Happy Birthday, ObamaCare.

Hadley Heath

A year after it became law, ObamaCare remains unpopular with Americans.  And more than that... Americans say it's confusing. 

According to Rasmussen Reports, in March 2010, 54 percent of Americans said they did not want ObamaCare to be law.  This week, that statistic remains nearly unchanged at 53 percent.  Scott Rasmussen spoke to the Heritage Foundation "In the Green Room" about his take on the public opinion of ObamaCare.  The Foundry blog reports:

As Mr. Rasmussen pointed out, this is still an issue on the minds of many voters, especially among seniors who are likely impacted most by the new law. While admitting that attention to this issue may not always be this high, Mr. Rasmussen suggested that it will continue to weigh on Americans' minds. "They will be interested when they see it impacting their life," he explained, "And that could be in terms of expanded deficits-which is sort of a distant relationship-or it could be when they have to change their insurance coverage or when their doctor says, ‘I have to do this because of the health care law.'"

It's clear that there are two parts of America that are divided by this law: on one hand, those who favor it strongly and won't give up - and on the other hand, those who want it repealed.  But there's a third group of Americans who don't feel strongly either way about the law.  These people may ultimately determine ObamaCare's fate.

But even now, one year after we've passed the law "so we can know what's in it," many people still don't know what's in it.  They don't know what's in it for them.  If you don't know what's in the law, then naturally you'll have a hard time deciding how you feel about it.

Another poll released this week from Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that the most commonly cited emotion that Americans relate to the health care overhaul is confusion.  This isn't surprising.  Some people still believe that ObamaCare is another entitlement program like Medicaid; they essentially believe that "ObamaCare" is just the name of a new government-run insurance policy.  Other Americans think that ObamaCare is just a new set of rules that require insurers to issue policies to everyone "fairly" (that is, "guaranteed issue").  And then, there are yet others who believe that ObamaCare has already been repealed.

But the law is still in place.  And its 2,000 pages hold a lot of changes on the way.  From the mandates to insurers, the new taxes, and the health care exchanges to the employer mandate, the individual mandate, and all the new federal agencies... this law is more of a fruit-basket turnover than a reform. 

Even if it was supported and passed with good intentions, time will tell what the real results will be.  One year later, the White House is still on a PR campaign to boast about the "benefits" of the law.  My hope is that - if some Americans still remain unsure of what's in the law or how to feel about it - that they will have a change to hear the full story on ObamaCare rather than just the White House version.

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