A new Associated Press-GfK poll found the nation still divided over the new health care law, but attitudes are shifting. Forty percent of those surveyed said they support the law, with 41 percent opposed.
The opposition to the landmark health care reform law signed last year has always been more intensely felt than easy to explain. Health policy experts find plenty to criticize in the complicated legislation, but the opposition from ordinary Americans has been more visceral.
To them –– or at least those who pretend to speak for them –– the legislation that spent a torturous year moving through Congress was shoved down the throats of people who didn't want it. At times, it seemed that the main argument against the bill then, and the main reason to repeal it now, was that health care reform is unpopular.
But a funny thing happened between the time the bill was signed into law and this week's House vote on repealing it: Health care reform is getting more popular, and the opposition to it, less intense.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll found the nation still divided over the law, but attitudes are shifting. Forty percent of those surveyed said they support the law, with 41 percent opposed. These numbers have shifted since just after the November elections, when 47 percent opposed it and 38 percent supported it.
Just 1 in 4 support outright repeal of the law, which you wouldn't know from the Republicans' claims that the public is united behind their extreme remedy. Even among Republicans, support for repeal has slipped, from 61 percent in November to 49 percent today.
Polls showing a lack of support for health care reform have been misleading from the beginning, since they combine in the opponents' camp those who think the reforms don't go far enough along with those who think the bill goes too far. In the latest poll, 43 percent said they think the government should do more to overhaul the health system.
The House Republicans' decision to make their first act a symbolic all-or-nothing repeal of health care reform, which is sure to go nowhere in the Senate, is unfortunate for several reasons –– not least is that it slams the door on bipartisan action to improve on it.
-- The MetroWest Daily News (Boston)