Jay Carney: People don't like ObamaCare because of all the money that was spent attacking it

Via the Examiner, which has a handy rebuttal ready: Just scroll through the polling at RealClearPolitics, all the way back to O’s first few months in office. The first poll showing net opposition to health-care reform appeared in mid-July 2009 and the first one showing double-digit net opposition followed a few weeks later. By early September, after Democrats got an earful at their health-care town halls in August, even the AP was showing a 15-point spread in opposition. Carney’s seizing on money as an explanation because that’s the White House’s unified field theory for all of its troubles right now. They’re being outspent by the right in the campaign (well, no, not really, but they might be eventually) and that Citizens-United-loving wingnut Supreme Court is about to shatter their dreams of universal health care and you just know that the damned Koch brothers are behind it all pulling the strings, so let’s go ahead and blame money for why the public hates ObamaCare too. Even though one of the most compelling reasons on the left for electing Obama four years ago was that he was allegedly such an oratorical samurai that he’d be able to sell the progressive vision while in office like virtually no one else. How many speeches on ObamaCare did he end up giving, in fact? Dozens, surely. How’d that work out with the polls?

Let me offer a radical counter-theory on why ObamaCare’s popularity never took off: As much as people dislike some aspects of their health care, they get panicky at the prospect of a major overhaul. Too much can go wrong if things don’t work out — longer waits, fewer doctors, more expensive care. Toss in a strange new power grab in the form of the mandate, exotic procedures being used in Congress to pass the thing, the prospect of Medicare being raided to pay for the reform, and the unpalatable reality of big government rolling out the ultimate big government program and you’ve got a mighty heavy lift turning this into a political winner. And no, it’s no answer to say, “But voters like seeing people with preexisting conditions covered.” That’s true, but there are lots of things voters like in the abstract that they end up liking a lot less once they realize the trade-offs involved. Voters really like the idea of a balanced budget, but when you explain to them that that’ll require entitlement cuts and higher taxes on the middle class, suddenly they’re a lot less eager, huh? In this case, the “goodies” included in the law simply never looked good enough to make all the causes for anxiety that I described above seem worthwhile.

I’ll leave you with this:

A Fox News poll released Wednesday finds nearly half of voters oppose the law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Thirty-nine percent favor the law. Thirty-nine percent — the exact same number — also favored it at the time it was passed two years ago (April 2010).

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David Strom 5:21 PM on December 09, 2022