Next week, on March 23rd, exactly a year will have passed since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. A year of bitter debate has left public opinion on the law as divided as ever. Congressional Republicans and the conservative base remain as committed to repeal as ever. The prospects for repeal, and the question of whether the individual mandate will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, remain as unclear as ever.
So all Democrats can do is keep fighting to change public opinion on the law, and hope for the best. And that’s what they are going to do next week. A Democratic official emails the plans being assembled by Obama’s political operation to celebrate the Affordable Care Act’s first anniversary:
Organizing for America and state parties will hold over 100 events next week recognizing the 1 year anniversary of the affordable care act — extolling its virtues for lowering costs, ending the worst practices of the insurance companies, reducing the deficit and what it has already meant — just in the first year — to millions of small business owners, seniors and young people. Fully a third of the events will feature small business owners or be small business focused and the events will include everything from press conferences and rallies to forums and roundtable discussions.
The events will also take aim at what is at stake if Republicans were to repeal the affordable care act and take aim at the policy riders in their version of the continuing spending bill which would bring the implementation of the affordable care act to a screeching halt.
In addition to the events, we have a number of other national products and efforts in the works including national press conference calls, videos, emails to the DNC and OFA lists highlighting stories and a lot of work on the blog and over social networking.
The Affordable Care Act’s first anniversary comes as a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll tells us that public opinion on the law remains pretty much where it was a year ago, with 42 percent viewing it favorably, versus 46 percent who view it unfavorably. Dems have not succeeded in selling the law to the public.
And yet, this has not translated into strong support for repeal: The poll finds that 51 percent favor keeping the law as is or expanding it, versus only 39 percent who favor repealing and replacing the law with an unspecified alternative or doing away with it completely. And as always, the poll also finds that many of the law’s individual provisions — aside from the mandate — remain very popular.
In other words, a year later, nothing has changed: Both sides still have every incentive to keep this fight going. Though the law remains unpopular in a general sense, Dems have every reason to keep doing everything they can to try to change people’s minds. And that’s exactly what they are going to do.