Obamacare isn’t getting repealed. But not because it’s popular.

The GOP-controlled House will try for the 37th time later Thursday to repeal Obamacare. Like the first 36 times, the effort will gain no traction beyond the lower chamber.

A Tea Party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare", at a "Food for Free Minds Tea Party Rally" in Littleton, New Hampshire October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
A tea party member reaches for a pamphlet titled "The Impact of Obamacare," in Littleton, New Hampshire October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Is that because of a Democratic Senate and White House? Absolutely. Is it because the law is popular? No, because it's not.

As House Republican renew their assault, it's worth bearing in mind that President Obama's health care law continues to divide the public. An April Kaiser Health Tracking Poll showed that Americans were split over the law, with a narrow plurality saying they held an unfavorable view of it:

Going back to the 2012 election, there are more data suggesting the public isn't sold on the law. As we wrote in March when we last explored this issue:

* One in three Americans said Congress should repeal the entire law in a January CBS News/New York Times poll, and 19 percent said the individual insurance mandate portion of the law should be repealed. By comparison, 18 percent said the law should be kept as is, and 24 percent said it should be expanded.

* Nearly half of voters (49 percent) said either some or all of the law should be repealed, according to the 2012 network exit poll.

Thursday's effort will mark the first time the 113th Congress has voted on repeal. The vote is being driven by a desire by Republican leaders to allow new GOP members who don't have a repeal vote on their resume to add one. It is also expected to clear the way for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to secure enough support to pass the “Helping Sick Americans Now Act.”

It's been a little more than three years since Obama signed the health-care law, following an extraordinarily contentious legislative and political debate. After three years, a Supreme Court decision, and a protracted post-enactment debate, the law seems to be here to stay. But it's worth bearing in mind that the public hasn't overwhelmingly embraced it.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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