Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Politics of Repeal

We'll see how it develops but even though the health care bill is unpopular I think repealing it is going to end up being bad politics for Republicans.

One of the biggest problems for Democrats on this issue and one that has contributed to the bill's unpopularity is that health care is not high on the list of things most Americans are concerned with right now. They've overwhelmingly focused on jobs and the economy, and they've seen the Democratic fixation on health care as a distraction from more important and pressing issues. We've seen over and over that much of the actual content of the health care bill is perfectly popular. It's the overall process that has really turned voters off and for that Democrats have received the blame.

If the Republicans now keep health care in the spotlight by trying to repeal it, they will be the ones independents voters see as having skewed priorities and they may start to pay the price. Yes, repeal will play well with the base. But focusing on that has a high potential to turn off independent swing voters who have been leaning toward the GOP but are sick of the health care debate and want Washington to be more focused on something else.

And let's be realistic. Nothing gets Democratic voters more energized than Republicans misbehaving. Democrats really aren't all that good at getting their own base excited- we saw that in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia. But if Republican leaders try to repeal the health care bill that could rekindle the anger of the Bush years and get drop off voters mad and out to the polls this fall.

Perhaps repeal will end up being a political winner for the GOP but I think it will do them more harm than good.

14 comments:

Dave said...

"Repeal" is popular now and you're right that some of the things in the bill are popular. If you think most of it is than you aren't asking the right questions. If you polled the individual mandate, Medicare Advantage, or the big one, the cost of this, you would find some of the bill isn't popular. Especially the costs. People see a $930 billion price tag and, based on past experience, are skeptical that revenue will be as high as they say and expenses as low as they say.

I'm all for people with pre-existing conditions. Since the health insurance companies will be paying out more to hospitals as a result everyone else's insurance rates will likely go up.

I think you're right. Most people won't want to repeal everything in the bill but the bill has so many components that people will want the most expensive parts repealed.

getmebrian said...

Insurance rates will not go up because there will be millions of new people in the insurance pool. If anything, rates will drop. That is a lot of new business and a big portion will be younger, healthier Americans who typically go without health care and hope that nothing happens to them.

wt said...

The mantra is not just repeal, but "repeal and replace." But that doesn't change your point that America is. so. exhausted. of healthcare debate.

It will be an election issue, but not an actual legislative priority between now and November (not that we could do much with 41 Senators and 180 Reps).

Bryan said...

Dave, I agree with you. Repeal or as Tom Campbell is calling it in CA, "reform" of this bill is popular. Democrats can NOT just be Obama's canon fodder in the campaign. But I think there's no turning back.

Dave said...

The uninsured consist of several groups. The largest are the foreign born, a group that will receive no subsidies or have a mandate.

There are many who are 19 to 26 years old who have chosen not to have health insurance due to the expense. They will now be covered by their parents. So they won't really be in the pool at all. If they do have individual coverage their rates are low. So, while they don't cost the insurance companies a lot they aren't as profitable as 26 to 45 year olds who are healthy.

Medicaid will be expanded to families making $29,327 a year. So this group will be removed from the insurance pool.

Individuals making up to $44,000 will be eligible for subsidies and will expand the pool somewhat.

Individuals making more than $44,000 and families making over $88,000 won't receive any assistance. They could increase the insurance pool but they're unlikely to do so. The penalty of the individual mandate, $695 a year, will be significantly less than the cost of insurance. If you can't afford to pay $4,000 a year in insurance the threat of a $695 penalty won't get you to do so.

There's some question of how the penalty will be enforced. The Democrats want to avoid creating "insurance police" because creating such a group would be a political albatross. If the Republicans gain back the House they likely wouldn't authorize funds to enforce a mandate they see as unconstitutional. In most states no one is policing the auto insurance requirement. It's only an issue when someone is stopped by police.

One provision in the bill is that Insurers will be prohibited from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical problems or charging them more. If people know that they can get insurance for the same price after they're sick they'll wait until they are before purchasing insurance. It won't really be "insurance" then, since they'll cost the insurance companies more than they put in.

Finally there are those that health insurance companies won't take because they are too expensive. They want insurance but their inclusion will raise everyone else's rates.

Of course there's no mandate before 2014 anyway. Even if the young people do in fact pour a lot more money into the health insurance companies than they take out they won't have impact for four years. That's if they do so at all. Rates will continue to go up at at even greater pace at least until then.

RightKlik said...

Yeah, smart Republicans will come to PPP for advice.

Actually, I think Americans are very concerned about the defecit, and its effect on the economy. To the extent that the GOP can focus attention on unsustainable government spending, and other unpopular features of ObamaCare, the GOP can score points with the electorate, including independents, by promising an agenda that includes repeal of O-care

kreiz1 said...

I agree with Tom's conclusion that jobs are a much higher political priority than health care. Between now and November, the costs of the new bill won't be evident to most voters. (On the other hand, neither will the bill's benefits.) GOP focus on abstractions like loss of liberty aren't persuasive. Most Americans care about escalating premiums costs, not much else. I'm not as sanguine as getmebrian that the bill will result in lower premiums- I'm very skeptical of this. But most voters are pragmatists- they'll be watching premiums and taxes. If there's little change, the political fallout will be marginal.

gaylib said...

why would Republicans want to repeal it? It's everything they've ever wanted and more. The enslavement of the entire populace to the Insurance industry is a republican wet dream.

kreiz1 said...

I'm thinking that esteemed blogger Dave Schuler of "The Glittering Eye" accurately assesses the bill's impact:

"It doesn’t reduce healthcare spending. Indeed, it increases total healthcare spending by roughly 10%."

"It doesn’t bring healthcare costs down. It might in the future but that depends on a lengthy list of assumptions. It is possible that healthcare reform in this form will actually increase costs. When you throw more money at something where there’s a supply bottleneck, that can happen."

"When the euphoria/doom and gloom has settled down, I hope that the people and the Congress recognize that we still need healthcare reform. It’s hard for me to imagine much stomach for it."

donkeykong said...

I'm a conservative and I think that more government involvement in anything is bad for people, I could even go as far as saying that I'm republican and still say the same. What we really need is less regulation so that small private health care insurers can compete driving the cost down to an acceptable level. Now if that results in a giant firm with extremely low rates and then they switch their practice to a predatory method you can blame all of the laws that we have for allowing them to bind us in contractual obligation. Laws are written by corporations, delivered by politicians/lawyers and applied to the people. Lawlessness would be more beneficial for us than this high legal entropy democrats call "service"

Christian Liberty said...

Notice the blog post is based on nothing but speculation, no actual data. Are Democrat pollsters afraid to see proof that repeal is more popular than passing Obamacare ever was?

Christian Liberty said...

54% of likely FL voters favor suing the federal government to block implementation of Obamacare. Democrats have doomed the entire party from coast to coast. Opposition to Obamacare will sweep in Republicans from sea to shining sea -- federal, state, and local.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/florida/54_of_florida_voters_favor_suing_federal_government_over_health_care

Christian Liberty said...

49% Support State Lawsuits Against Health Care Plan (Rasmussen)

More Americans (and especially more LIKELY VOTERS) approve of blocking Obamacare than approve of the bill itself. Repeal is a winning issue for conservatives and moderates, Republicans and independents, and many Reagan Democrats (soon to be Palin Democrats).

brodero said...

It all comes down to Jobs,,,,Job creation and the unhappiness quotient will go down....Reagan was
below 50% for 2 years....when the unemployment rate broke 8.8% from a high of 10.8% his approval ratings got above 50%...by my statistical calulations ( which would really bore you to death) I believe we will see a lower unemployment rate than conventional
wisdom thinks.....

 
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