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Posted at 4:27 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Do Americans want to defund Obamacare?

By Stephen Stromberg

When Republicans sought to repeal the health-care law last month, they invoked the wishes of "the American people" so many times that it was as if they had some kind of individual mandate to use political clichés. But now that they are attempting to defund the implementation of the law, they seem to have lost their enthusiasm for the phrase.

At CPAC last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his line on efforts to undermine the health-care law, insisting, "We didn't swear an oath to uphold whatever's popular. We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution." And, he said, "If we do our jobs, popularity will take care of itself."

Maybe this is why: A new CBS poll reconfirms that Americans are pretty ambivalent about the law -- rendering dubious earlier GOP claims of a clear mandate for repeal -- but it also indicates that most don't want Republicans to defund it.

Unlike what Republicans such as Indiana Rep. Mike Pence predicted last November, GOP efforts to undermine the health-care law haven't inspired a wave of popular acclaim, let alone enough popular support to make repeal or defunding politically feasible.

Of course, the poll isn't exactly vindication for Democrats, either. As is so often the case with surveys on this issue, the results aren't clearly favorable to one side or the other. Twenty one percent of respondents said the law would make the system better and 24 percent said it would make the system worse. A whopping 44 percent said they didn't know enough to evaluate the law's impact.

Don't believe anyone claiming that American attitudes on health-care reform neatly match those of either the Democrats or the Republicans. Americans don't seem all that happy with the law -- many want it to do less, many want it to do more, and many, apparently, don't know what it does. But they don't seem to want it repealed or defunded, nonetheless.

Republican leaders and activists promised too much to their base on health-care reform. They overpromised about how effective they could be at undermining it. They also overestimated how many people would agree with them when they tried. As reality asserts itself, will the base just accept it? Or will we soon start hearing from John Boehner and Mitch McConnell about how "the professional right" can't be satisfied?

By Stephen Stromberg  | February 16, 2011; 4:27 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

Where's the meat of an alternative?

Posted by: jimb | February 16, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

The GOP started defunding the Government with Reagan now they want to dismantle it because of the debt they ran up and refused to pay. I hope somebody knows how to saute an Aircraft Carrier

Posted by: notthatdum | February 16, 2011 11:19 PM | Report abuse


So as I say, I wake up every morning, thankful that I have exceptional health insurance coverage I found through wise health insurance for my family because it gives me peace of mind knowing that my family can count on me to deliver their health care needs.

Posted by: caisonbobby | February 17, 2011 4:45 AM | Report abuse

This American supports Obama care. I just wish it had gone further and included a public option. The GOP has become a cynical institution. It's members only care about their wealthy "base". They do not speak for me on the subject of health care.
In trying to defund Obama care the GOP is attempting to protect the wealthy health care industry. Who do they think they are kidding by talking about "defending the constitution". The constitution has nothing to do with this issue. It is Money pure and simple.

Posted by: OhMy | February 17, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

All one needs to know is the make up of those polled.

Unweighted Weighted
Respondents 1031
Reps 298 289(28%)
Dems 345 333(32%)
Ind 388 409(40%)

Who would have guessed that CBS would present a poll signaficantly biased Dem. That would support President Obama? Who would have guessed that Mr. Stromberg would use it as the basis for his piece?

Posted by: colonyr | February 17, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Colony apparently doesn't understand that there are more Democrats than Republicans and more Independents (now) than either. If they polled equal numbers of different political parties, it wouldn't give accurate results but would bias the poll toward the party with the fewest actual members. Of course, it should be no surprise that someone with his mindset can't grasp such an elementary concept.

The right and complicit media want us to believe that all opposition to "Obamacare" was anti-reform when the fact is most people wanted more reform - to single payer, universal or at least a public option.

Posted by: fingersfly | February 17, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Republicans cannot defund or destroy the healthcare law unless they have a viable alternative that they can quantifiably demonstrate will reduce health care costs more then the current plan. And they have not done this, will not do this and cannot do this. Soinstead they want to waste American tax payer time and money fighting an ideological battle that they cannot win.

This is why Americans are not behind Republican efforts.

Likewise, Americans do not believe that Obama's healthcare law will really address the underlying costs. They gave lip service to ideas that could have a marginal impact such as Tort Reform and Inter-State Competition. They see that the current law does not address the fundamentals of costs.

This is why Americans are not happy with the Democrats.

What Americans want is for their elected representatives to grow up and address reality, and put forth plans that will address the fundamentals of costs such as outcome based compensation versus fee-for-service, Tort reforms and increased competition. Until these are addressed we are still ignoring the biggest area of budget deficits that are compounding our debt.

Americans want a functional, brave and productive government.

Posted by: thecontributist | February 17, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

It is not the place of the government to tell me I have to buy insurance. I have paid taxes and SS for 50 years and feel I am entitled to medicare and social security. If I want to buy it then its OK but I shouldn't be forced. What is next-make it illegal to ride a bicycle? Or ride a horse? Or eat french fries? That is common sense-not party lines. I am an American who does possess a brain and common sense. I don't let anyone tell me how to feel and keep an open mind and listen to opposing positions and not oppose them only because they are a Republican or a Democrat.
"Politics may not be the oldest profession in the world but the results are the same" ~ Janis Joplin “
.
“Government is like a baby,” Reagan once quipped. “An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.”
Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently. Often for the same reason.

Posted by: jch3 | February 17, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I have excellent health care benefits as do most of my generation. But, my son cannot afford health care as it is presently constituted. He was recently hit by a hit and run driver and had to be hospitalized and treated in the emergency room in NYC where he was working part time as a legal aide. Now he is being constantly harassed for payment for services for an impossible sum of money that no young person in his situation could possibly afford.

My son's predicament is typical of young people,, young workers across this country and I can tell you right now that I look at these smug morons in the tea party and think by God if you ever got in my face with your crap about health care I just might be aroused and angry enough to kick your freakin hiney! All I see the tea party doing is lathering up the buttocks of wealthy elites like Limbaugh and O'Reilly. And I have to tell you, I am sick and tired of it!

Posted by: jaxas70 | February 17, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The people that support Obamacare consist of two basic groups. There are the politicians who feel very strongly -- for both good and misguided reasons -- that this country ought to offer cradle to grave health care and should throw out the people that have been providing it. The problem is that the two groups include (1) those who blindly believe the projections that have been produced in terms of cost and (2) those who know what it will really cost but simply cannot bring themselves to tell the truth. It really is thaty simple.

But the short answer is, more people than not are prepared to de-fund Obamacare provided a rational alternative can be developed, which is something the Democrats in the last session of congress simply forbid.

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | February 17, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I lived in Canada for several years. All provinces in Canada have universal health care coverage, Their medical costs per person is manageable because illnesses get treated before patients are gravely ill. Frankly, anyone attempts at making a point against universal health care needs to understand that people are dying in the US for lack of medical attention. When I was on the staff of a big University Hospital, I saw first hand the high cost financially of neglecting treatment early in an illness. A person can present themselves at an emergency room and get care, but that is the most costly and stupidly inefficient way to manage our health care. So many people arriving at ERs are very, very sick and the cost of their care is gigantic. Makes no sense financially and certainly morally!

Posted by: mJJ2 | February 17, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

to all,

as "obamacare" is not only unpopular with 70+% of voters, FOOLISH & vastly UN-affordable for the USA, the law is also UNCONSTITUTIONAL on its face.
"obamacare" will be quickly struck down forever, when the case reaches the SCOTUS.
(as of today, TWO federal judges have WISELY deemed "obamacare" UNCONSTITUTIONAL.)

then & only then can we start over again to LAWFULLY deal with "the healthcare crisis".

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama Care is great for me and lots of people i know.. my two college kids are now on my medical at work and it cost me $120 a month for good insurance.. i was paying $440 for both and it was crappy insurance.. I LOVE OBAMACARE....ONLY INSURANCE COMPANYS HATE IT...

Posted by: tbaughey | February 17, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

ITS ABOUT TIME SOMEONE DID SOMETHING TO HELP THE MIDDLE CLASS.. I LOVE OBAMACARE..FOR THE DUMB PEOPLE THAT THINK THIS IS ANOTHER HAND OUT TO THE POOR YOU'RE WRONG.. THEY ALL READY GET FREE MEDICAL WITH THERE WELFARE..

Posted by: tbaughey | February 17, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

TEXASNATIVE46... YOU'RE SO WRONG WHEN PEOPLE START SEEING WHATS IN THERE.IT WILL NEVER GET OVER TURNED..THATS WHY THE REPUBLICAN ARE TRYING TO STOP IT SO FAST..
GREAT INSURANCE FOR LESS THEN HALF THE AMOUNT..AND INSURANCE COMPANYS CANT PICK AND CHOOSE WHO THEY WHAT AND DONT WANT. NO ONE WHATS TO PAY FOR A KIDS WITH REAL PROBLEMS.. THEY ONLY WANT THE PEOPLE THEY CAN MAKE MONEY OFF.. THE WAY I SEE YOU TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD.

Posted by: tbaughey | February 17, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

tbaughey; all,

"tb": did the caps lock stick on your computer?

fyi, according to the non-partisan GAO, the "obamacare" program will at least TRIPLE the cost of healthcare for EVERY American over the next two decades and still leave "uncovered" at least 8% of citizens.

"obamacare' is as big a SCAM, a FRAUD & a FAILURE as BHO is as POTUS.

to all: personally i think that, as the feds demonstrably cannot run the USPS adequately, the price quoted will probably be times ten.

but fear NOT "gentle readers", the SCOTUS (IF they choose to even hear the case) will promptly declare "obamacare" UNCONSTITUTIONAL. - it is entirely possible that SCOTUS will choose to let the lower court's decision stand & END this wasteful/DIMocRAT/leftist FARCE.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | February 18, 2011 2:03 AM | Report abuse

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