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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: HCR Facts Serve Dems, Not GOP

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira’s latest ‘Public Opinion Snapshot’ at the Center for American Progress website will not gladden the spirits of Republican spin-meisters who argue that, as the public becomes more aware of the facts about the Affordable Health Care Act, polls will show an uptick in support for repeal of the act — and GOP congressional candidates. First, a plurality of poll respondents view the legislation favorably, as Teixeira explains:

…Consider these results from the latest Kaiser Health Tracking poll. First, the poll records a slightly more favorable (46 percent) than unfavorable (40 percent) reaction to the “new health reform law.” Thus, it is not the case that polls even now are uniformly showing unfavorable reaction to the new law.

And looking toward the very near future, Teixeira notes that, while a majority of voters say they don’t yet have enough information to understand how the law will affect them personally, the provisions scheduled to kick in this year are polling very well, indeed:

…Just 43 percent say they now have enough information to make this judgment, compared to 56 percent who say they don’t. Thus, more information could presumably make a difference to current feelings about the Affordable Health Care Act.
This is where the conservatives’ big problem comes in. There are a wide variety of changes that will take effect this year as a result of the law. Kaiser tested favorability to 11 of these changes, including “allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26” (74 percent favorable), “providing tax credits to businesses with fewer than 25 workers that provide health insurance to their employees” (86 percent favorable), and “making it harder for insurance companies to drop someone’s coverage when that person has a major health problem” (81 percent favorable). The average across the 11 changes was 73 percent favorable, with no change lower than 57 percent favorable.

As Teixeira concludes, “…As the public hears more about these changes and encounters them when interacting with the health care system, favorability toward the new health care reform law is likely to grow.” And, if the law’s beneficial provisions are well-publicized, GOP spin-doctors will be spinning their wheels more than anything else.

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