It has now been five years since President Obama signed Obamacare into law — and more than two years and two months since any poll found it to be popular. The last time a poll found Obamacare to be popular was during Obama’s first term.
During his second term (now mercifully more than halfway over), Real Clear Politics has listed 178 polls on Obamacare. All 178 have found it to be unpopular. In addition, the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — a left-leaning outlier that RCP doesn’t even list and which (contrary to essentially every other poll) actually claimed Obamacare was popular at the time of its passage — has released 22 polls on Obamacare during Obama’s second term. All 22 have found it to be unpopular. So, in all, Obamacare has gone 0-200 during Obama’s second term, far worse than the cumulative 0-124 record of #16 seeds in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
It’s not hard to figure out why. The good people of this country didn’t want Obamacare because they knew it would undermine their liberty, their nation’s fiscal solvency, and the quality of American medicine. They knew it would raise health costs while also increasing federal spending, deficits, and control. They knew it would funnel unprecedented power and money to politicians and bureaucrats in Washington at the expense of doctors and patients on Main Street. And, indeed, it has.
Yet Obama says of his namesake,
“On the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, one thing couldn’t be clearer: This law is working, and in many ways, it’s working even better than anticipated.
“After five years of the Affordable Care Act, more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained the security of health insurance.”
In truth, when the Democrats rammed Obamacare into law without a single Republican vote, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 26 million people would have gained health insurance by 2015. Only the federal government could call failing to hit a target by 10 million people “working even better than anticipated.” Moreover, most of those 16 million have merely been dumped into Medicaid.
Still, the ongoing public opposition to Obamacare is really quite striking. Imagine if 200 straight polls had found Obamacare to be popular. In that scenario, do you think the cause of repeal would continue to be taken seriously? Why, then, in the face of 200 straight polls finding Obamacare to be unpopular, is its repeal not viewed to be nearly inevitable?
The truth is that if Republicans show half the determination to repeal Obamacare in 2017 that Obama did in imposing it upon an unwilling citizenry in 2010, Obamacare will be repealed. The only thing holding back the cause of repeal is this: Most Americans were not content with the pre-Obamacare status quo, and — five years later — they’re still waiting for Republicans to unite around a well-conceived conservative alternative.
Polling last fall by McLaughlin & Associates (on behalf of the 2017 Project) found overwhelming support for repeal in the context of a viable conservative alternative. With “a conservative alternative that aims to lower health costs and help people get insurance” in play — in other words, with an alternative in play that focuses on both costs and coverage — the poll found that 60 percent of likely voters supported repeal, compared with only 32 percent who supported letting Obamacare stay on the books (whether “in its current form or in amended form”). Among independents, the tally was 62 to 26 percent in favor of repealing rather than keeping/fixing Obamacare. (The poll included 38 percent Democrats and only 32 percent Republicans.)