Democrats are still high-fiving over killing Republicans' Obamacare "repeal and replace" efforts, although that coup de grace was ultimately delivered by a handful of Republicans. They're again revving up their outrage machine in a bid to derail tax reform, deploying an array of misleading and false arguments to frighten Americans -- the vast majority of whom stand to benefit from the plan. And because their scare tactics involve pretending that eliminating Obamacare's individual mandate "kicks people off of healthcare" and is actually somehow a "tax increase" (more on that soon), it's worth revisiting that empirically failing law. The Left's hysterical fight against healthcare reform took a public opinion toll, as the (widely misunderstood) GOP proposals were deeply unpopular, consequently boosting the popularity of Obamacare. Of course, rising or falling public perceptions of the law do nothing to help the relatively small percentage of Americans who are directly impacted by it (Democrats' single-payer nightmare would affect every single person in the country), more of whom have been harmed than helped.
Now that the political furor over replacing Obamacare has subsided, the country's views have again started to sour on Democrats' crumbling scheme, which has reduced access and exploded costs for individual market consumers. The "Affordable" Care Act at work. According to Gallup, support for the law has slid five points from its all-time high, with opposition rising several points -- an eight-point negative swing. John Sexton points out opinions are largely driven by partisanship, with overwhelming majority of Democrats backing (85 percent) Obamacare, with just a tiny fraction (11 percent) of Republicans doing the same. Independents are split. But even a plurality of those who approve of the law say they want "significant changes" to be made. In other words, as usual, a large majority of voters recognize that Obamacare isn't working:
Gallup: After peaking during repeal debate, Obamacare approval dips again. Large majority want major changes or full repeal. pic.twitter.com/iYcj8SiYLd— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 28, 2017
Even as early sign-ups in the current enrollment period are up ("though that may be the result of people signing up early because the enrollment period is half as long this year"), the hardcore Obamacare supporter who tracks the numbers is projecting that total enrollment will again decrease, year over year. Meanwhile, in a potentially-significant policy development, President Trump has reportedly endorsed a bipartisan Obamacare "fix" crafted by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray. That proposal, broadly defined, would pay out "stabilization" funds to insurers who are losing money due to the law's inability to attract enough young healthy consumers to make the government-mandated model viable. The White House originally signaled openness to the idea, then reversed course -- and now this:
TRUMP just told Republican senators he supports the Alexander-Murray ACA stabilization bill, per Mike Rounds who was in the room.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) November 28, 2017
As usual, Phil Klein asks the right question:
Curious to know full context. In isolation or as part of broader effort including repeal? As part of tax reform compromise? https://t.co/2hxhI8KISk— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) November 28, 2017
Both Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have expressed a willingness to vote for a tax reform bill that repeals Obamacare's individual mandate tax as long as an Alexander/Murray deal was in place as a backstop. Trump's stance could mean that Senate Republicans are close to striking a balance that entails passing both tax reform (including eliminating the individual mandate tax) and a compromise that some conservatives have attacked as an Obamacare "bailout." Would those hesitant conservatives be willing to settle for that bailout if they payoff is ending the mandate and getting tax reform? I'll leave you with this, on tax reform:
All signs point to GOP having the votes for this thing— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 28, 2017
On one hand, this could be an encouraging sign. On the other, it's still the GOP.