Obamacare and Brinksmanship

Not long ago I shared the results of a recent poll that showed that a slight majority of Americans had serious reservations about Obamacare. A commenter responded with the following:

Interesting. I’ve noticed that polls still show that people aren’t in favor of defunding the law, even if they don’t approve of it: http://bit.ly/186LYwF. What do you think is behind that sentiment?

To which I replied in part:

Many would support what they view as legitimate legislative reworking of the law, but tend to be suspicious of efforts to short-circuit a duly enacted law, especially when there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the actual effects of the changes it brings. I think it would take a level of opposition much higher in intensity than we have seen before you saw voters pushing to short circuit legislative process through budget manipulations.

In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that:

The most commonly chosen reason for opposition to defunding the ACA is that ‘using the budget process to stop a law is not the way our government should work,’ (named as a major reason by 69 percent in this group), followed by a belief that ‘without funding the law will be crippled and won’t work as planned,’ (56 percent) and feeling that the law will be ‘a good thing for the country’ (49 percent). Fewer (35 percent) say their main reason for opposing defunding efforts is that they’ve ‘heard enough about the health care law and it’s time to move on to something else.’

Of course, here we are now in a partial government shut down that some analysts expect could cost billions:

With 800,000 employees furloughed, and assuming average compensation of $110,000 per year, the total GDP-basis spending impact represents $1.7 billion per week. The average compensation figure may sound large, but remember that it includes all benefits as well as base salary. A loss of $1.7 billion in GDP for one week would reduce the second quarter’s growth rate by about 0.18 percentage point. Each additional week would take off another 0.18 percentage point.

For more background on how a fight over Obamacare even gets to the point of shutting down the government, see Marc Eisner’s piece on Government By Continuing Resolution.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel reminds us once again that our public opinion polls may be telling us little of value as people are quite willing to make up their policy preferences even when they have no clue what they are talking about:

Finally, I leave you with SNL’s spoof on President Obama’s apparently unsuccessful attempts to educate the public on what the Affordable Care Act is and does:

A.K.

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2 thoughts on “Obamacare and Brinksmanship

  1. Oops, Danielle. I was referring to a survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation. I just inserted a link to the report in the text of the post. Thanks for keeping me honest.
    A.K.

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