Grassroots Democrats Begin to Oppose Obamacare

The results from the most recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows grassroots Democrats are beginning to join independents and Republicans in opposing Obamacare.

Recent issues of this newsletter here and here and here and here and here have clearly documented how Obamacare is causing serious unemployment, dramatically increasing the cost of health insurance, causing employees to lose their health insurance at work, forcing small medical practices out of business, and attacking the religious beliefs of many Christians.

And that doesn’t even include the rationing of health care for seniors that is designed into the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which this newsletter reported on here.  Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) said IPAB would likely "have devastating consequences for the seniors and disabled Americans who are Medicare's beneficiaries."

As a result, it was only a matter of time before grassroots Democrats began to feel the pain from Obamacare and react against it.  While their negative opinions of the law are not yet as strong as independents and Republicans, it is clear they are beginning to understand its many flaws.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Overall, Kaiser found only 37% of the people have a favorable view of Obamacare.  40% view it unfavorably and 23% are undecided.

(A recent poll from Rasmussen Reports found that 50% viewed the law unfavorably.  44% viewed it favorably and 6% were undecided.)

In the Kaiser poll, when asked if "you and your family will be better off or worse off" under Obamacare, just 21% of voters said they thought they would be better off!  29% said worse off and 40% said the same.

When asked about the nation as a whole, 55% said the so-called Affordable Care Act (which is actually not its official name) would make the cost of health care worse. Only a tiny 21% thought the law would make health care more affordable, while 18% said it would stay the same.

When asked about the effect of the law on the quality of care, 45% said it would be worse, 24% better, and 26% the same.

When Kaiser broke down the results by party, it showed that only 58% of Democrats had a favorable view of Obamacare, but that was far better than the 31% of independents and 18% of Republicans.

But just 37% of Democrats thought the law would improve the cost of health care for the nation.  34% of Democrats said it would make the costs of health care go up and 26% said it will stay the same.

On a personal level, only 23% of Democrats thought Obamacare would help make health care more affordable for them and their families and 26% thought it would drive costs up. 46% said it would be the same.

Just 39% of Democrats said Obamacare would improve the quality of health care nationally. 25% of Democrats said it would make it worse and 34% believe it will stay the same.

And on a personal level, only 25% of Democrats believe Obamacare will improve the quality of care for themselves.  16% said it would make their own quality of health care worse and 46% said it would be the same.

These poll results spell major trouble for Democratic candidates in the 2014 congressional elections.

It is not a coincidence that 34 Senate Democrats joined all 45 Republicans in voting for an amendment to the Senate Budget Bill that would repeal the 2.3% Obamacare tax on the sale of medical devices, which has already resulted in much unemployment in that industry.

As explained in the last issue of this newsletter, this amendment removed the revenue from the tax from the Senate budget, but could not actually repeal the tax.  Bills have been introduced in the Senate, S 232, and House, HR 523, to repeal the medical device tax and have numerous Democratic cosponsors.

The National Journal examined this issue from a multi-year perspective:

In 2010, Republicans, helped in part by public opposition to the law, won back the House and picked up seats in the Senate. Last year, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's embrace of the individual mandate while Massachusetts governor largely neutralized what had been a potent political issue.

But, in the next two years, Republicans are looking to bring the issue back in a big way. And they'll start by trying to brand the law as one that costs too much and is not working as promised.

Democrats will be tempted to continue to write off the incoming fire as the empty rhetoric of a party fighting old battles. But that would be a mistake. During the health care debate, the GOP's coordinated attacks helped turn public opinion against reform. And in the past two years, no more than 45 percent of the public has viewed Obamacare favorably…

A recent issue of this newsletter observed, "While it is highly unlikely Obamacare can be repealed in its entirety while the present Administration is in the White House, there is a realistic possibility that some parts of the law can be modified, dismantled, or repealed."

With grassroots Democrats becoming disillusioned with Obamacare, Democratic members of the House and Senate are likely to become more open to changes in order to make the law less onerous.

The previous issue of What's Happening with Seniors Benefits: Congress Hands Obamacare a Setback

The previous issue What's Happening with Conservatives and the Tea Party: Supreme Court May Render Split Decision on Marriage
 
Previous issues of both newsletters.

Follow Art Kelly on Twitter @ArthurKellyJr

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