Doubling Down

Obama Administration

There are two sides of the Obamacare story today. Progressives are pumping their fists and declaring, HOO-yah. Conservatives are shaking their fists and declaring they will defend the Alamo to the last, um, man. Or something.

From what I can tell, opinion polls on the ACA haven’t changed much over the past several months, and a small majority still disapprove of it. It will be interesting to see if this week’s news will move the needle.

Still, as Josh Marshall writes,

As I noted recently, GOP policy analysts are pretty clear now that Obamacare isn’t collapsing, hopes of the politicals notwithstanding. And strategists have started to hint that flat opposition – repeal with no alternative that provides something like the same range of benefits – may no longer be viable from a political standpoint.

Of course, in the Obamacare gotterdammerung bubble, Obamacare is on its last legs and President Obama will soon resign and ask the country for mercy as he’s hustled off by federal marshals to stand trial for Obamacare and socialism. Back on planet earth though reality-based opponents see the writing on the wall.

What’s next for the deniers? Joan Walsh predicts they’re going to go after the subsidies.

McCarthy also tacks on an ugly parenthetical, asking “how many received a subsidy (raising concerns about fraud).” Brian Beutler at the New Republic calls this an effort to “welfarize Obamacare,” to stigmatize it and also make it subject to the same hysteria about “fraud” that conservatives use to smear other social programs. …Still, a high rate of subsidies will let the GOP continue to demonize the “takers” vs. the “makers.” But some of them are going to have a big problem: A lot of the takers will turn out to be their voters.

Some guy at the Weekly Standard is saying the debate will be over when the American people say it’s over. Although, of course, by “American people” he means “right-wing think tanks.” And he says, “Repeal, now more than ever!”

The problem is, even many of the more demented wingnuts realize they can’t just repeal without taking a huge political hit. If they had something credible to replace the ACA they might use that, since the law still isn’t that popular. But they don’t. And they’re not going to. Greg Sargent writes,

The American public doesn’t believe there is any Republican alternative to the health care law.

That’s borne out in polls — more on that in a moment — but it’s rarely confirmed by Republicans themselves. . . .

. . .Kaiser’s tracking polls on health care — the gold standard — neatly demonstrate that Americans don’t believe there is any Republican alternative. Its March poll found that only 29 percent of Americans want to repeal Obamacare, but in that category, only 11 percent of Americans want to repeal the law and replace it with an unspecified GOP alternative. In February some 12 percent were in that latter category. In October it stood at 13 percent. And so on.

The GOP “repeal and replace” strategy relies on keeping replace vague. It relies on a gamble that voters won’t notice that the actual choice Republicans are offering them is to stick with Obamacare or to return to the old system. The map is so bad for Dems that Republicans could win the Senate in spite of the problems with this strategy. But even so, there is a basic nuance in public opinion that continues to go underappreciated. The most likely explanation for the combination of continued disapproval of Obamacare and continued opposition to repeal is that many Americans may not like what the law requires in exchange for its good stuff – or beyond that perhaps they don’t like the health system and are skeptical it can be made better — yet they understand that Obamacare is the only set of solutions we’re going to get

The political question is whether Republicans can keep their bluff going all the way to November.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Apr 18, 2014 @4:08 pm

    Those “sonic boom’s” you think you’ve been hearing, are TOTALLY NOT people breaking the “Speed of Sound!!!!!”
    THAT, has YET to be broken!

    It’s amazing and terrifying how fact-and-clue–and-chart-free, out Reich-Wing is!

  2. Bill Bush  •  Apr 18, 2014 @5:08 pm

    It seems to me that the Obamacare haters are immune to any consideration other than money, and that they must have either their own insurance or Medicaid or Medicare. So where is their list of who should just go away and die next time they are hurt or sick? And if the government should not pay for insurance for anyone else, then maybe it should not pay for the haters, either. Just to be fair and all, ya know. The repeated calls for the uninsured to buy insurance across state lines is so tired. It is just a way to let people purchase something inadequate to evade paying for actual insurance. The effort to avoid cost sharing for women’s gynecological needs “because I am a man” so totally ignores the principal of having a large pool to spread out costs makes me think they don’t understand the concept of insurance. Or that they did not have mothers or wives or daughters. It would be like women declaring that prostate tests and treatment should be deducted from their premiums. There is just no sense behind it, except a sense that someone, somewhere, who is not as “deserving” might get medical care.

  3. Swami  •  Apr 18, 2014 @5:15 pm

    And he says, “Repeal, now more than ever!”

    Not for nothing, but Jimmy Swaggert has a song on one of his albums that has the title…Yes, we need Jesus now more than ever. 🙂 It strikes me as funny picturing this conservative singing.. Yes, we need repeal now more than ever in a weeping tone like Swaggert sings his song.

  4. Dan  •  Apr 18, 2014 @7:05 pm

    “The political question is whether Republicans can keep their bluff going all the way to November.”

    Well, they’ve kept the bluff up now for 34 years with little in the way of wavering; not sure they’ll just fold any time soon. It has worked well enough in 1980, 1994, 2000, and 2006.

  5. Swami  •  Apr 19, 2014 @12:24 am

    I think Jeffery H Anderson needs a diaper change..

    The American people hated Obamacare even before the Democrats willfully passed it, they hate it now, and they never stopped hating it in between. There’s strong evidence that the debate is, indeed, over—and that Obama and his allies have lost.

  6. erinyes  •  Apr 20, 2014 @10:40 am

    Ever notice that the people who say ” there’s no such thing as a free lunch ” get all kinds of things free, all of the time ?

  7. Tom_B  •  Apr 20, 2014 @10:16 pm

    ” It has worked well enough in 1980, 1994, 2000, and 2006. [the bluff the GOP had a “plan”]

    Yea, but in the “old days” people worked for companies and had health plans.

    The polls are basically worthless– just about anybody would rather not have to have a plan– at least not until you NEED one. The polls are “wishful thinking” talking. Most people like the stuff IN Obamacare, and it’s the law and the world hasn’t exploded.

    The GOP may SOMEDAY embrace healthcare, but don’t hold your breath– they still are still trying to kill Social Security.

  8. Swami  •  Apr 20, 2014 @11:58 pm

    Ginny Thomas’s $800,000 dollar payoff from the Heritage Foundation for her consulting “advice” on abortion legislation is pretty damn close to a free lunch.