On health care, the public doesn’t like its options
A majority of Americans view both the United States’ current health care system and the changes enacted in President Obama’s health care bill in an unfavorable light — a one-two punch of disillusionment that epitomizes just how tough it is for politicians to talk about health care on the campaign trail.
Fifty-six percent of Americans rate the nation’s current health care system unfavorably in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, while 52 percent regard the “federal law making changes in the health care system” in a negative light.
The numbers are even more stark when they are broken down into those who feel strongly favorably versus strongly unfavorably about each system. In each case, the number of people who feel strongly opposed is more than twice those who feel strongly in support — a testament to the fact that all of the energy on health care is on the side opposing both the old/new system.
And perhaps most interestingly, Americans who are not happy with their current health care also give Obama’s health care law negative ratings, by a 2-to-1 margin.
This is a group that health reform was theoretically supposed to help. Back in August 2009, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that people who were less satisfied with their current health care were more likely to believe it would improve under health care reform. That clearly hasn’t happened.
In short, people like neither the status quo nor the new version. Neither Coke nor New Coke is appealing to them. It’s a political no-win situation for politicians who have undoubtedly spent oodles of time figuring out how to react once the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday.
(It’s also why we have seen Republicans shift from a “repeal” message to a “repeal and replace” message — the thought being that they wouldn’t just return to the unpopular status quo, but also provide an alternative to both.)
As we have written before, all of the spin around the health care law should not distract from the fact that opinions about it have remained remarkably steady over the past two years.
Here’s a chart put together by the Post polling department — follow them on Twitter @postpolls — that shows just how locked-in public opinion on Obamacare really is:
With the public unhappy about all of their health care options and seemingly decided — and not in a good way for the Obama Administration — when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, what’s a politician to do?
Start over. Seriously. More than three-quarters of Americans said they want Obama and Congress to start working on a new health reform bill, according to an AP-GfK poll.
The chances of that happening this close to the November election? Zero percent. And that’s being optimistic.
Primary recap: It was a busy primary night Tuesday, with one incumbent — Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) — succumbing to a primary challenge and a few others, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), surviving theirs.
Key matchups were also set in upstate New York, where many seats have flipped control in recent years.
And in the race for retiring Rep. Dan Boren’s (D-Okla.) seat, both sides are headed to runoffs.
Obama calls Romney the potential “Outsourcer in Chief.”
Romney easily wins the final primary of the 2012 campaign — a no-doubter in Utah.
The Republican National Committee releases a web video hitting Obama on transparency in light of the looming contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
Talks to avoid that contempt vote break down.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) husband, Michael, who is in the Army National Guard, faces some scrutiny for calling members of the state Senate “cowards.”
North Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp becomes the latest Democrat to say she will skip her party’s convention this year. Four other Democratic Senate candidates are staying home, as is Montana Senate candidate Rep. Denny Rehberg on the GOP side. But Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) will be there for the Republican convention.
Warren Buffet will not send money to a super PAC to help his friend, former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), in the Nebraska Senate race.
California state Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D) learns his opponent in the race for retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s (D-Calif.) seat after the third-place finisher concedes. Democrat Norman Solomon conceded to Republican Dan Roberts for the second slot in the open primary, but Roberts is a heavy underdog against Huffman.
“Immigration Ruling Leaves Issues Unresolved” -- Julia Preston, New York Times
“Howard Berman, Brad Sherman to Focus on Differences” — Kyle Trygstad, Roll Call
“Inquiry Looks Into a Shield for Donors in Elections” — Nicholas Confessore, New York Times
“Mitt Romney says he would lead on immigration, he just won’t say how” — Dan Balz, Washington Post
Video: The Post’s Scott Clement explains how the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that Americans might want a better health care system, but there's a big challenge for government when it comes to making changes.