The Energy Behind Repealing Obamacare May Be Ebbing | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

The Energy Behind Repealing Obamacare May Be Ebbing

Sure, you can still hear congressional Republicans talking about repealing the Affordable Care Act.

But there's clearly something different about the current climate, and the GOP approach to Obamacare. The thrill of repeal may not be gone for Republicans, but much of the urgency of repeal is.

For starters, the House GOP doesn't have more repeal votes lined up for these weeks after the spring recess.

When Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House majority leader, recently informed his colleagues what was on their schedule — and thus part of their messaging for the mid-term election — the schedule contained no repeal votes.

Instead, he said the House would likely vote on, among other bills, contempt legislation against former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner for the agency's controversial examination of non-profit political groups. They might even vote on extending some tax credits. But not an ACA repeal.

And this comes after what seemed like an insatiable hunger for repeal votes. The House has had more than 50 of them.

A recent bipartisan NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted by Democratic and Republican pollsters Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies, indicated that the grassroots energy behind the repeal effort isn't what it used to be.

Between December and April, support for repealing the law fell five percentage points. Since Democratic support for the law has stayed fairly constant, it would be independents and even Republicans who would account for that shift.

Research by Stan Greenberg, a respected Democratic pollster, confirmed this. Greenberg told journalists during a recent teleconference that, based on new data, the intensity to repeal the ACA has dropped significantly since December — even in Republican districts.

Meanwhile, the percentage of voters wanting the law to be implemented has risen.

"What's driving this is a dramatic change among independent voters," Greenberg said. "You had in December a majority of independents who were for repeal, 48 percent, with a lot of intensity, that was a painful number... Repeal intensity has dropped from 48 to 39 percent."

Another recent survey, a tracking poll done for the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 58 percent of voters wanted Congress to fix the law instead of repealing it. About 35 percent supported repeal.

Part of what is going on is that, after a notably shaky start with the flawed Healthcare.gov website, the ACA has had some real or perceived successes.

More than eight million people signed up for health insurance, exceeding the administration's publicly stated goal. And many of the problems with the federal health exchange were fixed.

The repeal effort was also significantly damaged by last year's partial government shutdown. Some Republicans had urged the shutdown, arguing it would force Obama to consider undoing his signature domestic policy achievement.

Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders never bought that logic but allowed those GOP voices to have their way, at least initially.

While the energy for repealing the health law may have receded from where it was two or three years ago, that's not to say that it has turned the corner in public perception — far from it.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll found plenty of reasons for President Obama and congressional Democrats to be worried about the vibes surrounding the law during this mid-term election year. A plurality of Americans still find the law not living up to their expectations – a Pew Research/USA Today poll released Monday reports just 41 percent approve of the ACA, compared to 55 percent who disapprove.

That's a sure danger sign for Democrats in 2014.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 31

Today you can rock out to some familiar tunes or check out a local band’s debut album.

NPR

How To Order Pizza From A Nuclear Command Bunker

A trip to an underground Air Force nuclear bunker becomes a unexpectedly delicious culinary experience. Just don't order the gravy bowl.
WAMU 88.5

Jonnie Williams On Stand Again Today In McDonnell Corruption Trial

Former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams will take the stand again today in the trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and his testimony could be key in the case.

NPR

Can Pinterest Compete With Google's Search?

Pinterest has created a database of things that matter to humans. And with a programming team that's largely been hired away from Google, the company has begun offering what it calls "guided search."

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.