So says Jonathan Chait:
. . . looking even an inch beneath the surface reveals a public more frustrated and confused by Obamacare than opposed. Its specific elements poll well, though they’re the least known elements. Four out of ten Americans don’t realize the law hasn’t been struck down. A new poll out shows that the public, by a ten-point margin, trusts Democrats over Republicans on health-care issues. By a 52–34 percent margin, they want Congress to implement or tinker with the law rather than repeal it. The nearly ubiquitous conservative belief that the public shares its passion for repealing Obamacare is a spate of self-delusion. [snip]
The tiny kernel of truth is that a handful of people — mostly young, male, and healthy — will have to buy into some kind of regular insurance plan that covers stuff, not only plans that cover your costs if you’re injured in a car crash and make you pay for just about everything else. The scare campaign could work, at least to some extent. But if it works, it won’t work because Americans are dying to be converted to an all-catastrophic, high-deductible system.
What Republicans have going for them is that health care is really complicated, people don’t spend hours a day boning up on public policy, and those who have insurance understandably fear losing what they have. But the vast majority of the public is not going to see any changes under the new law. Even if the Obamacare exchanges collapse, they only bring in people who don’t have Medicare or employer coverage anyway and are already suffering through a dysfunctional individual insurance market. The “shock” is going to be felt by conservatives who are expecting their Randian fantasies of socialist dystopia to come true.
The tragedy is that our old system was utterly unworkable and the new system isn’t really much of a new system. The Affordable Care Act represents a serious attempt to fix a real world problem. It’s a Rube Goldberg device, doing in complicated ways what should have been done in simple ways. That said, full implementation has the potential to greatly benefit millions of Americans – simply removing the life time caps and the exclusions for pre-existing conditions will benefit people. The mandate isn’t all that scary since lots of people can simply pick up their employer’s insurance (FWIW, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to be without health insurance – all it takes is one night in the hospital to make it worth it). The real problem is the number of states opting out of the medicaid expansion, which will have a huge impact on those living in poverty.