The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that public opinion of the Affordable Care Act is still divided, but nearly equally so. In other words, the numbers say that roughly equal numbers of people approve and disapprove of the ACA, and the numbers who report the ACA helped them personally is roughly equal to those who say it hurt them personally.
Kaiser also reported that a majority of Americans have no clue about the King v. Burwell case and are unaware that the Supreme Court could take away exchange subsidies in 34 states. However, when the situation is explained to them, a “majority of the public, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, says that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, the result would have a negative impact on the country (62 percent) and the uninsured (57 percent).”
This suggests to me that a considerable slice of people who disapprove of the ACA think that ending the exchange subsidies would hurt the country.
When asked if Congress should pass a law “correcting” the ambiguous language in the ACA upon which King v. Burwell is based, so that all states could offer subsidies, 64 percent said yes. When it was explained to these same people that if Congress passed such a law it would be harder for Congress to make other major changes to the law, 54 percent still wanted Congress to pass a law to allow all states to get subsidies. And then when it was explained that without congressional action millions would lose insurance, plus the cost of private plans would go up for everybody, up to 77 percent said Congress should act to pass the law.
This tells me that much of the American public still hasn’t figured out exactly what “Obamacare” is and doesn’t know what it wants to do about it. This also tells me that if Republicans succeed in sabotaging the law the American public will be pissed, including a big chunk of those who say they want the law sabotaged. Because they have no freaking idea what’s going on.
Right now House Republicans are at war with each other over the budget. The defense hawks are on one side; the budget hawks are on the other side. But the budget — which calls for slashing Medicare and Medicaid spending, of course — is something of a fantasy.
Without relying on tax increases, budget writers were forced into contortions to bring the budget into balance while placating defense hawks clamoring for increased military spending. They added nearly $40 billion in “emergency” war funding to the defense budget for next year, raising military spending without technically breaking strict caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
The plan contains more than $1 trillion in savings from unspecified cuts to programs like food stamps and welfare. To make matters more complicated, the budget demands the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including the tax increases that finance the health care law. But the plan assumes the same level of federal revenue over the next 10 years that the Congressional Budget Office foresees with those tax increases in place — essentially counting $1 trillion of taxes that the same budget swears to forgo.
And still, it achieves balance only by counting $147 billion in “dynamic” economic growth spurred by the policies of the budget itself. In 2024, the budget would produce a $13 billion surplus, thanks in part to $53 billion in a projected “macroeconomic impact” generated by Republican policies. That surplus would grow to $33 billion in 2025, and so would the macroeconomic impact, to $83 billion.
Plus rainbows and ponies.
Meanwhile, House Republicans have unveiled another new plan for replacing Obamacare. This is something they do every 20 days or so in order to generate headlines that they have a plan for replacing Obamacare. But their replacement plans are the stuff of rainbows and ponies also, so much so Republicans don’t believe in them, either.
In fact, the Republicans do have a health-care plan: It is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with what we had before Obamacare. They don’t want to admit that’s their plan, but it is. It’s right there, in the new budget released by House Republicans this week. …
… It’s true — Representative Tom Price has a health-care plan. Of sorts. It’s a really sketchy plan that Price has not had scored by the Congressional Budget Office, which allows it to serve the purpose of letting Republicans cite it to refute the charge that they have no plan without being held accountable for its effects. …
… The House budget illustrates the second obstacle to the adoption of a Republican health-care alternative. If Republicans wanted to replace Obamacare with Tom price’s health-care “plan,” they would include it in their budget. Tom Price probably has the clout to get his health-care plan onto the desk of the person in charge of writing the House Republican budget, who also happens to be Tom Price.
But the Price-authored budget ignores the Price health-care plan for the same reason the old Ryan budget ignored the Ryan poverty plan. It’s a thing Republicans want to say they’re for, but don’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to do it. The place where a party reconciles its competing priorities is its budget.
See above about the budget. It doesn’t rise to the level of smoke and mirrors. Your average second-grade elementary school class could write a better budget.
If SCOTUS kills the subsidies in 34 states, the one tangible thing Republicans might do is vote to continue subsidies until after the November 2016 elections, before the bulk of the American public realizes what happened. Because they have no freaking idea what’s going on.