Remember Obamacare?

Dan Holler

5/7/2012 12:01:00 AM - Dan Holler

Hidden by the fog of a presidential campaign and slumping economic recovery is President Obama’s signature achievement: Obamacare.

For any number of reasons, one of the most unpopular laws in a generation has faded into the background. All too often, Obamacare constitutes no more than a brief talking point for pundits and politicians. And as of late, it has even served as a legislative slush fund to “pay for” more big-government spending boondoggles.

But for many Americans, including “Julia,” the ramifications of Obamacare are much more than political talking points and legislative gimmicks.

A new survey reveals employers could save more than $42 billion a year by dropping health coverage and essentially forcing their employees onto Obamacare-style exchanges. It runs contrary to one of President Obama’s most repeated claims: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

From the broken promises to the individual mandate, Obamacare is a giant target that deserves a more prominent role in America’s political discourse. As an added benefit, highlighting the terrible policy will also make for good politics, even in swing states.

Last week, a Quinnipiac Poll found that majorities in Florida and Ohio wanted the Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare. A plurality said the same in Pennsylvania. Despite the well-documented disapproval of Obamacare, President Obama is still leading presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in each of those states. RPC’s average has President Obama up by 0.4, 4.2 and 7.0 in each state, respectively.

All the usual caveats apply, of course. The general election campaign is just now beginning and polls at this point in the campaign are notoriously unreliable. Those caveats aside, what we can discern from the data is a huge vulnerability – one that both Romney and congressional Republicans would be wise to exploit.

What many seem to be struggling with is how to take advantage of that opening.

Last week, House Republicans found a new angle of attack on the law: its preventative care grant program could be used to fund pet spaying and neutering, urban farming initiatives and city bike lines. Only creatures of Washington could create such a law!

But just as earmarks were used to expose Washington’s reckless spending, these relatively tiny absurdities need to be used to expose Obamacare’s massive overreach. Rather than target the program within Obamacare that contains the absurdities, Congress should target all of Obamacare.

Full repeal of Obamacare is only controversial among the elite media and overly cautious Washington insiders. Americans – especially likely voters – favor full repeal of law, and have done so since it was passed more than two years ago. In fact, only once has Rasmussen found support for repeal among likely voters dipping below 50%.

The most recent polling from Rasmussen found 55% of likely voters favor repeal while just 36% oppose. An NBC News / WSJ poll found just 36% of adults thought the law was a good idea. A separate Quinnipiac poll found 51% of likely voters said Congress should try to repeal the law. And a FoxNews poll found only 27% of registered voters wanted the Supreme Court to uphold the law.

It is worth remembering that after Obamacare became law, one prominent Senator tried to dissuade his fellow Republicans from focusing on the law because of the political optics. As it turned out the 2010 election was a referendum on the law. If Republicans would have shied away from the fight on Obamacare – which now seems improbable – they may have not regained control of the House.

All too often, you’ll hear the words “adult” or “grownup” thrown around in an effort to discourage principled conservatives, but the lesson here is simple, and so is the message: the unworkable law cannot be saved so it must be repealed. That message can be applied to the experiment that is President Obama’s vision for America: it was unworkable from the start, it cannot be salvaged and it must not be extended for another four years!