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Chris Walker

Chris Walker has been writing on politics for over ten years. Hailing from the dairy state of Wisconsin, Chris has been especially recognized for his coverage of the Wisconsin protests. Focusing on social and economic issues of the day, Chris espouses a progressive viewpoint from an academic angle.... read more

Don’t believe the hype: Americans really do support health care reform

Chris Walker on 11/28/2014

The headlines grab the attention right away, making it seem like bad news for President Barack Obama’s large overhaul of the health care system.

“Poll: 54 percent against Obamacare,” writes Politico.

The Huffington Post, known for supporting Obama, adds, “Most Americans Still Oppose Health Care Law.”

Do Americans support Obamacare?And Breitbart.com, a hugely conservative, anti-Obama media source, piles onto the fervor, opining simply that a “Majority of Americans oppose Obamacare.”

Yet, reading deeper into the CNN poll that these websites (and more) have cited, it’s clear that isn’t the whole story.

It’s true that only 43 percent of the U.S. public supports the law now known as Obamacare. And a majority does in fact oppose the bill.

But as CNN points out, it isn’t all because the law goes too far. Indeed, nearly three in ten of those who said they oppose the law say so because it doesn’t go far enough.

35 percent of Americans say the law is too liberal. 16 percent, however, think the law isn’t liberal enough, that it didn’t go as far as it needed to go to reform the health insurance industry in this county.

Taken together, that means that almost six in ten Americans are happy with the law or want more from it, while less than 4 in ten Americans think it goes too far.

Much of the law has yet to take effect, which means that most of those polled haven’t even felt a direct impact of the law. When those portions of the law come into play, it’s unclear how Americans will react.

Most will probably be upset with the mandate to purchase insurance (a mandate that affects everyone except those who are otherwise unable to do so financially). Still, other parts of the law will likely cause many to celebrate Obamacare — specifically, an industry-wide prohibition of denying care based on pre-existing medical conditions, a practice that resulted in thousands of lives being lost.

Several outspoken conservatives have consistently derided the law, several times without even knowing what’s in the law to begin with. The main problem with Obamacare’s negative image lies in the fact that many Americans are still unsure of what it yet entails, due partially to those who criticized so fiercely but erroneously from the start.

But these numbers shouldn’t frighten the Obama administration — they should indicate that Americans desired drastic change to the health care system we previously had, and that the direction the president has taken is overwhelmingly supported, by both the core 43 percent that approve of it and by the 16 percent that wanted all that the law created but more.

The most important thing to note from this poll is this: only 35 percent of Americans dislike the law because it’s too liberal. That’s not only a minority, but a minority by huge margins.

What we can observe from this poll is that Americans wanted bold action on health care. For the most part, President Obama delivered.

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