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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira: Public Likes Government Role in Health Care

In his latest ‘Public Opinions Snapshot, ‘TDS Co-Editor Ruy Teixeira, author of America’s New Swing Region: Changing Politics and Demographics in the Mountain West, shows that Americans still want a significant government role in health care. Teixeira explains:

Conservatives have been arguing strenuously that public uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act is connected to a deep-seated reaction against government involvement in health care. According to them, voters are waking up to the depth of government involvement in the health care system and are rejecting it.
Findings from the recently released American Values Survey conducted by Penn Schoen Berland for The Atlantic Monthly and the Aspen Institute indicate, however, that the public continues to embrace strong government involvement in the health care system. Take the question of whether the government should guarantee health care coverage: With the Affordable Care Act firmly in place, 69 percent of the public still endorses government responsibility for health care coverage, while 31 percent are opposed.

Equally impressive, a majority, not just a plurality, wants more government involvement in health care. As Teixeira says:

…When the public was asked whether the government should exert more influence over America’s health care system to bring down costs and provide health care coverage, 54 percent agreed, compared to 44 percent who endorsed the idea that government involvement should decrease and that the system should be more free-market oriented. So the public actually endorses more government involvement, even with the Affordable Care Act already in place.

All of which helps explain why Republicans have failed to forge a majority coalition to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It also suggests that most Americans are now ready to give the legislation a chance — and are open to strengthening the government’s role in health care reform.

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