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Friendly Reminder: Americans Still Despise Obamacare

As we breathlessly await the president's "new" jobs plan, let's check in on how his signature policy achievement is faring in the realm of public opinion:


Americans' opinion of Obamacare has reached an all-time post-passage low according to the Kaiser Health Tracking poll. Only 39% of those surveyed have a favorable view of the law, two points below the previous nadir of 41% first set in May 2010. Forty-four percent of Americans have an unfavorable view. While there continues to be a sharp partisan divide over the law, the Kaiser poll shows Americans' views converging. Democratic and Independent support for Obamacare has fallen to all-time lows of 60% and 33% respectively.

A fresh batch of Rasmussen data confirms Americans' zeal for repeal.  Note the twenty-point margin:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 57% at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, including 46% who Strongly Favor repeal. Thirty-seven percent (37%) at least somewhat oppose repeal, with 25% who are Strongly Opposed.  Overall support for repeal is up two points from last week. The percentage of voters who Strongly Favor repeal ties the record high last reached in July.

Phil Klein at the Examiner is concerned that although Republicans have been strong on the "repeal" message, they could be exposed as empty-handed on the "replace" element.  The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey Anderson agrees, and has therefore formulated a detailed, proactive, and limited approach to replacing Obamacare with a sensible conservative alternative:


The American people want three main things out of health care reform: They want health costs to drop. They want the number of people with insurance to rise. And they want to make sure that people with expensive preexisting conditions aren’t going without medical care. Republicans can deliver on all three counts. 

There are also many things that Americans don’t want out of health care reform: the loss of their health care plans; reductions in medical innovation; a decline in the quality of care; massive increases in federal spending and debt; the government injecting itself into the doctor-patient relationship; eventual federal rationing. Republicans can avoid following in Obamacare’s ominous footsteps on each of these counts. 

The Republican plan should emphasize three relatively simple things: lowering health costs, stopping the tax code from discriminating against the uninsured, and funding state-run community (“high-risk”) pools. A GOP plan that did these three things would be scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as cutting costs and adding on the order of 10 million people to the ranks of the newly insured.

Click through
to read more about Anderson's policy prescriptions, and how they would address healthcare consumers' core expectations, enumerated above.  In a democratic republic such as ours, governance requires the consent of the people.  Successful governance and the power to persuade relies on the credibility of the messenger.  President Obama spent a colossal sum of political capital pushing a stimulus bill that didn't stimulate, then squandered much of his residual goodwill on a gargantuan new entitlement program the public consistently opposed.  As 2012 approaches, Team Obama will identify myriad scapegoats for its own electoral deficiencies, but the truth will be very simple:  By thumbing his nose at the governed in pursuit of failed, unpopular policies, the president forfeited his own credibility.  For that, he has no one to blame but himself and his media-fueled, delusionally exaggerated estimation of his own rhetorical skills.


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