Health care reform
Poll: Opposition to health law grows
The Associated Press: "A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds Americans oppose the health care remake 50 percent to 39 percent. Before a divided Congress finally passed the bill and Obama signed it at a jubilant White House ceremony last month, public opinion was about evenly split. Another 10 percent of Americans say they are neutral."
"Only 28 percent of those polled said they understand the overhaul extremely or very well. And a big chunk of those who don't understand it remain neutral. Democrats hope to change public opinion by calling attention to benefits available this year for seniors, families with children transitioning to work and people shut out of coverage because of a medical problem. . . . Seniors – reliable voters in midterm congressional races – were more likely to oppose the law. Forty-nine percent strongly opposed it, compared with 37 percent of those 64 and younger." The poll was conducted April 7-12 and has a margin error of +/- 4.3 percentage points (Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/15).
In a separate story, The Associated Press reports that "The health care victory elevated [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to the ranks of Washington's most powerful House speakers. It also made her Exhibit A for Republicans intent on campaigning this fall against what they depict as the arrogance of unchecked Democratic power."
Pelosi, 70, is using that power to help Democrats salvage seats in the midterm elections as the American public grapples with what the health law means for them. "Pelosi's power is at its peak. It's likely to fade somewhat after the midterm elections, in which the president's party traditionally loses seats" (Kellman, 4/15).
Meanwhile, House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, of Indiana, "promised Republicans will push to repeal health-care overhaul legislation immediately," Politico reports. "'House Republicans will not rest until we repeal Obama care lock, stock and barrel and replace it with health care reform that will lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government,' Pence said" (Sherman, 4/14).
Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.