Public opinion wavers as
federal shutdown looms
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Hell) has lost control of his caucus – and the whole country will suffer. Click image to enlarge.
Click image to enlarge.
EXPECT THE BATTLE over health care reform to reach fever pitch this week as crazy Republicans in Congress tie repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to a possible shutdown of the federal government one week from today.
The debate is all over the map.
President Obama’s signature accomplishment in office – and one he vows to defend whatever the political cost – is not enormously popular with the American public.
But, a close examination of recent polls reveal that this is more out of ignorance about the law and its long-term implications – and irrational oppose-anything-Obama Tea Party naysayers – than a well informed public might feel.
Some benefits are already implemented (coverage for pre-existing conditions, for instance.)
AS MORE BECOME EVIDENT over the next few months, and the public begins to see real change, opinion may solidify behind long overdue reform of one of the worst health care systems among modern industrialized nations.
According to a survey published last week by the Pew Research Center, the public is divided on the issue.
Its report is titled As Health Care Law Proceeds, Opposition and Uncertainty Persist
The chart from the Pew Research Center showing divisions over health care reform amongst opponents. Click image to enlarge.
The sub-title is not good news for the Obama administration: One-in-Four Backs Efforts to Make the Law Fail.
But read the survey closely and it reveals ignorance and confusion.
“As a key step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act approaches, public views of the 2010 health care law are as negative as ever, and many are unaware of the elements of the law that will be going into place. (emphasis added)
“While opposition to the law runs deep, critics are divided over whether the effort should be to make the law work as well as possible or to make it fail.”
The survey found that “53 percent of Americans disapprove of the law while 42 percent approve. Overall approval of the Affordable Care Act ticked up last July in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of the law (47 percent approved, 43 percent disapproved), but opinions are now as negative as they have been any point since the bill’s passage.”
One of the reasons support for the law has dropped is the massive disinformation campaign being conducted against it, now being countered by an administration public relations blitz.
The story in The New York Times over the weekend about the dueling ad campaigns over healthcare reform. Click image to enlarge.
The report over the weekend in The New York Times was revealing.
In Ad Campaigns Compete as Health Law Rollout Looms Michael D. Shear reports:
“President Obama waged a fierce fight to pass his health care law four years ago. But as his administration prepares to put it in place, he is facing an aggressive Republican campaign to prevent a successful rollout and deny him his most important legacy.”
Shear then details plans the White House has for a six-month campaign “to persuade millions of uninsured Americans to sign up for health coverage as part of insurance marketplaces that open for business on Oct. 1.
“If too few people enroll, the centerpiece of the president’s Affordable Care Act could collapse.”
The reason for reluctance on the part of many to take advantage of the new benefits is explained in the opposition coming from Tea Party crazies in the GOP.
“Across the country, Republicans are eager to prevent people from enrolling, fearing that once people begin receiving the benefit they will be loath to give it up. And in Washington, lawmakers have cast the law as the evil villain in a legislative melodrama about the budget that is barreling toward another government shutdown,” Shear reports.
ONE OF THE ATTEMPTS to prevent people from enrolling in the new program and receiving the benefits from it was seen on Sunday in U-T San Diego, the mouthpiece of GOP “spokesman” Doug Manchester.
The op-ed from U-T San Diego, adding to the confusion and opposition to healthcare reform. Click image to enlarge.
In an op-ed headlined Obamacare: Health-care ‘reform’ will sink economy Brian Jones writes: “We find ourselves on the cusp of one of the biggest government expansions in generations — it’s positively massive. Why would we want to dig further into debt and cost our nation upward of $1.76 trillion by 2022 — all in the name of trying to make health insurance more accessible and affordable?”
Of course, “government interference” in health care is unnecessary and dangerous. Right? Well, what about the most popular and successful government program of all time: Medicare?
Jones says: “Sadly, President Obama and bureaucrats in our nation’s capital are more interested in inflating the size of the federal government rather than getting the private sector back to work.”
This conflation of the size of the government and the best chance to improve the US healthcare system in generations is one of the reasons for the headline in USA Today last week: Health care law faces difficult future
The sub-headline was: The Affordable Care Act: Still a tough sell
“Republican lawmakers have failed in dozens of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but a new USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows just how difficult they have made it for President Obama’s signature legislative achievement to succeed,” the report says.
“Among the 19 percent polled who are uninsured, nearly four in 10 don’t realize the law requires them to get health insurance next year. Among young people, whose participation is seen as crucial for the exchanges to work, just 56 percent realize there’s a mandate to be insured or face a fine.”
As the debate deepens and the shutdown deadline looms, we can expect more heat than light. Mass confusion won’t help anyone.
It can only be hoped that the sane members of Congress prevail and keep funding the federal government as healthcare reform is rolled out fully over the next six months.
As more people become aware of its real benefits, support is likely to grow as ignorance diminishes. Is it too much to hope for?
A week from today we should know the answer.
FEEDBACK: Contact site admin directly