ObamaCare has never been popular – until now. Not once during the debate in Congress nor in the time leading up to its passage into law on March 23, 2010, did ObamaCare have more supporters than opponents. Even after passage, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted people would love it when they got to know it, did it garner more than 50% support in the RealClearPolitics averages.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in December 2016, after Trump won the presidency but before Obama left office, found the ACA still only had a favorability rating of 43% with 46% opposed. But recent polls show ObamaCare has now grown in approval to 50% with 39% opposition.
What happened? Did the law somehow get better? No, all that has changed thanks to the media, Democratic demagoguery, and Republican failures to communicate. That’s likely the single most important reason Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 mid-term elections.
You can blame some Republicans, like the late Senator John McCain, Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Rand Paul for failure to deliver on campaign promises to repeal and replace ObamaCare. That has left President Trump and Republicans in Congress trying to improve this nine-year-old health law around the fringes.
As usual, the Democratic plan is scare tactics. Democrats insist Republicans want to do away with important protections like coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping children on their parents’ plans up to age twenty-six. Actually, there’s bipartisan agreement on both ideas but the media has made it possible for Democrats to demagogue this issue successfully.
But the real problem is most people aren’t affected by ObamaCare, or at least don’t know it, and they are fearful of change. About 180 million Americans get their insurance through their employer. Although ObamaCare has forced all insurance rates skyward, these Americans have hardly noticed. Their employer is paying the higher prices and they don’t feel the pain.
However, the reality is that they are paying the price through lower wages, or deferred raises, because employers can’t afford to offer them more. Despite the growing economy and widespread employment, wages have risen slower than expected due to the burden of ObamaCare. These people are fearful of any change that might cause them to lose their current healthcare insurance.
This is precisely why Medicare For All has little chance of ever seeing implementation because it threatens the status quo – the private health insurance of those 180 million Americans. This radical new healthcare idea may be popular among progressives but it will never garner much support from middle America.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle should come together to discuss real healthcare reform that protects pre-existing conditions, covers most Americans, and keeps prices down by eliminating unnecessary regulations in ObamaCare that only force up prices for everyone. Unfortunately, party politics make this an unlikely scenario before the next presidential election – and maybe even for years thereafter.