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Even as he conceded defeat in his “fight” against the Affordable Care Act — a “fight” that shut down the nation’s government and nearly forced a default on America’s debt — in a statement issued late Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner appeared poised to continue his battle against affordable healthcare.
“Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue,” he said. “We will rely on…targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people.”
The latest survey by Democracy Corps and Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund makes clear that the “American people” for whom Boehner purports to speak and pledges to fight are a diminishing minority. Just 38 percent of American voters now oppose the Affordable Care Act. Let us be very clear: As much as he may want it to be, this is not 2010.
We want to be clear because so much of the punditry — and most of the Republicans in Congress — assume that Obamacare is “unpopular.” Even the law’s backers assume that support will only come once the benefits take effect in January. Neither of these assumptions is true. Support has shifted dramatically since 2010, when reforms were unpopular and supporters paid a high political price.
Today, we find that the biggest shifts on favorability are coming from those who are already seeing positive benefits from the law, especially unmarried women, Baby Boomers, and seniors. And the more Republicans make this a debate about implementation, the more voters trust Democrats. When that is the choice, voters trust the Democrats by 17 points (49 to 32 percent) to do a better job. The more Republicans make the period ahead about blocking implementation, the more voters will trust Democrats to do a better job in government.
To be sure, voters have concerns about potential negative effects of the ACA — especially employers cutting jobs or reducing hours. But more important, voters are fed up with insurance companies. As they told us in focus groups, they feel they’re at insurers’ mercy. Too many Americans have been dropped from insurance, hit a lifetime limit, or been denied due to a pre-exisiting condition. The more they hear about the ACA’s protections for consumers, the more favorable they feel towards the law.
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