The issue of health care should not be a liability for the Democrats. Yet for years after its passage, ObamaCare’s popularity sagged. The health-care reform law was byzantine and underfunded, making it difficult for voters to draw a straight line between the law’s accomplishments and their own circumstances. Democrats avoided talking about it, leaving Republicans free to demagogue ObamaCare as runaway socialism.
During Tuesday’s midterms, however, Democrats finally got their health-care revenge. The issue, more than any other, powered their majority win in the House of Representatives.
Exit polls show that 41 percent of voters named health care as being the most important issue to them in these midterms. Immigration and the economy more or less tied for a distant second, at 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Another poll had much smaller margins, but still put health care in the lead at 23 percent, versus 21 percent for immigration and 19 percent for the economy. The focus on health care in 2018 suggests that, at long last, health care broadly — and ObamaCare specifically — has the opportunity to become a winning political issue for Democrats.
Since the 2016 election, ObamaCare’s approval has actually flipped: Where before, approval for the health-care package was down by 10 percentage points, now voters favor it by 10 percentage points. In 2016, the law was featured in just 10 percent of political ads supporting Democrats. In 2018, it appeared in more than half. It seems the GOP’s repeated efforts to kill ObamaCare in 2017 backfired, pulling voters’ attention away from the reform’s flaws, and illuminating its accomplishments instead.
In particular, ObamaCare finally put in place regulatory protections for people with pre-existing conditions, forcing insurers to cover them. These rules are overwhelmingly popular. Yet all those aforementioned GOP repeal efforts would’ve scuttled those protections. Currently, a number of Republican-led states and the Trump administration are pressing a court case claiming that ObamaCare’s rules protecting people with pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the White House has also been using its executive leeway in regulatory matters to blow as many holes as possible in ObamaCare’s infrastructure.
With their health care at stake, voters have a renewed sense of urgency in preserving and extending the security given to them through ObamaCare. Republicans dealt with this problem in the 2018 campaign by straight up lying, and claiming to support protections for pre-existing conditions. This was brazen. It was also a tacit admission of how politically untenable the GOP’s position on health care really is.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s disruptions, plus the death of ObamaCare’s individual mandate thanks to the GOP’s tax cuts, both conspired to drive premiums ever higher. This served to keep American voters’ attention focused squarely on the issue.
Republicans’ ObamaCare repeal efforts would have also gutted Medicaid, the single-payer program that provides health coverage for low-income Americans. Through ObamaCare, Democrats expanded Medicaid. It isn’t a perfect program, but it has been able to provide people with reliable and useful …read more
Source:: The Week – Business