Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Democrats, GOP, and Public in Clash All by Themselves over Health Law

I often think it’s comical
How nature always does control
That every boy and every gal
That’s born in the world alive,
Is either a little Liberal,
Or else a little Conservative!

Sir William Gilbert (1836-1911), Iolanthe (1882)

January 31, 2012- According the latest Kaiser tracking poll, 73% of Republicans view the health law unfavorably while 62% of Democrats favor it.

That’s clear enough. But wait a minute. What does the public think?

Well, like the alcoholic who lurches from left to right to stay upright in the center of his gait, the public is tottering in a clash all by itself.

The Kaiser tracking poll indicates:

• Only 37% have a favorable view of the law.

• 44% have an unfavorable view of the Affordable Care Act.

• 31% want to expand the current law while 19% want to keep it in its current form.

• 22% want it repealed outright and another 18% want it replaced with a Republican alternative—a total of 40%, fewer than the 50% want to expand it or keep it as it is.

• 67% have an unfavorable view of the individual mandate requiring everyone to buy coverage, while 30% have a favorable view of the requirement.

• While 50% of those surveyed think the law should be kept or expanded, 54% say the Supreme Court should throw the mandate out, while only 17% say they think the mandate should be upheld.

To Summarize

To summarize, only 37% have a favorable view of the law, and 67% don’t like the mandate. But 50% think the law should be kept as it is or even expanded.

What to Do

What to do politically? President Obama says there’s no going back. Republicans insist it should be repealed and replaced. The schizophrenic public wants it repealed, replaced, and expanded in one fell swoop.

Republican Grab Bag

Republicans offer a free-market grab bag.

• Malpractice reform, which Democrats, whose #1 contributor is the Trial Lawyers Association, will never accept.

• Health Savings Accounts, which depends on consumer responsibility and wisdom, something which Democrats think ordinary people lack.

• Universal tax credits, which makes so much sense it will never fly.

• Individual ownership of plans, which leaves employers out.

• Selling plans across state lines with doctors and hospitals and health plans competing, which smacks of free market competition, anathema to liberal elites.

• High risk pools for those with pre-existing illnesses, which is popular but not among all conservatives.

• Continued closure of Donut Hole and coverage of young adults under parents plans, which everyone seems to like.


Solutions? Let the Supreme Court decide. Let liberals argue gutting Medicare of $575 billion will save it. Let Conservatives argue changing Medicare through premium vouchers will save it.

Let the public decide in November as they stagger to the polls – Liberals to the left of them, Conservatives to the right of them, Moderates and Independents dead ahead of them.

Tweet: According to the latest Kaiser tracking poll, the public would like the health law repealed, replaced, and expanded – at the same time.

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