Driving the Week: Repealing Obamacare

This week, the U.S. House will vote to repeal Obamacare.  The law, unpopular from the start, will likely receive a bipartisan rebuke in the House.  With the outcome of the vote certain, prognosticators inside Washington are gaming out the next steps: how will the public reactor to the debate; what will the House do next; and, will vulnerable Senate Democrats continue to defend the law.

Look for Obamacare proponents to do two things: 1) downplay the significance of the vote; and 2) claim repeal will hurt children, seniors, families and kittens.

And, true to form, the Department of Health and Human Services is out with a new study this morning claiming that 50% of Americans suffer some sort of pre-existing condition.  The implication is that absent the law, more than half of Americans would be denied insurance.  That, of course, is demonstrably false.

A cynical observer may question why the study was released the day debate on repeal was scheduled to begin.  One unnamed source suggested, “When a new analysis is released on the eve of a vote in Congress, it’s hard to view it as anything but politics and public relations.”  Taxpayer funded PR, of course.

If that were not enough, politicos are trying to spin a new AP-GfK poll as bad news for repeal advocates.  The headline: Opposition to health care law ease. A quick look inside the numbers, though, reveals a much more complicated picture.

[UPDATE: The Weekly Standard kindly points out that AP-GfK polled all adults, as opposed to likely voters, as they did before the elections.  It creates an apples-to-oranges comparison, destroying the narrative.  Read their take down, here.]

Among the more obvious data points is that opposition to the law still outweighs support for the law.  And then, there is this key blurb from the story:

One of the major Republican criticisms of the law found wide acceptance in the poll, suggesting a vulnerability that GOP politicians can continue to press.

Nearly six in 10 oppose the law’s requirement that people carry health insurance except in cases of financial hardship. Starting in 2014, people will have to show that they’re covered either through an employer, a government program, or under their own plan.

For those who followed the debate closely, they understand this is no small caveat.  The fundamentals of Obamacare rest on the individual mandate.  Absent the individual mandate, the law crumbles – a fact supporters of the law freely acknowledge.

A Rasmussen poll, released yesterday, found support for repeal – not just opposition – remained steady at 55%.  Amazingly, support for repeal has never fallen below 50% in Rasmussen polling.  The poll also finds “most unaffiliated voters say the plan will increase the federal deficit.”

Repeal is driving the week, but liberals are pushing back hard, trying to win the messaging battle.  The last data point suggests their current tactic has failed.  The question is, what will they try next?

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