More than three and a half years after the Democrats passed Obamacare into law, the overhaul’s exchanges — its East German–like government marketplaces — finally, sort of, open for business. The Democrats fully expect their fellow Americans to be so excited about buying government-approved insurance through these government-run exchanges that they’re choosing to shut down the government rather than delay the individual mandate for a year. Better to shut down the government, it would seem, than let Americans freely decide — even for a year — whether or not to buy Obamacare-based insurance.
Alas, the individual mandate’s penalties will be low enough, and the cost of insurance under Obamacare will be high enough, that most people — especially younger, healthier people — will likely decide that the Obamacare fine beats the Obamacare product. But the Democrats need to get as many people to buy Obamacare-based insurance as possible, and they know that the individual mandate will often be the key to making — or coercing — the sale. So funding for the rest of the federal government can wait. Such is the strange state of play as we enter the last quarter of 2013, and hence the first quarter of the new fiscal year.
Perhaps even stranger, yet not altogether surprising, is the Democrats’ new favorite line of argument about Obamacare — namely, that it’s the law and therefore not only Republicans but all Americans should just deal with that. The clear implication is that the American people are powerless to act, through their elected representatives, to repeal laws they don’t like. This, of course, is ridiculous.
A much better summation of how our government works is found in Federalist 63. In that essay, James Madison writes that “the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought, in all governments, and actually will, in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers.” And the cool and deliberate sense of the community is very much against Obamacare.
Real Clear Politics lists a whopping 243 polls taken on Obamacare since its passage, and the results have been rather amazing — and consistent. Fully 95 percent of those polls (231 of 243) have shown that the American people oppose Obamacare, while only 4 percent (10 of 243) have shown that they support it. (The other 2 polls — 1 percent — have shown a neutral result.) Of those nearly 250 polls (a rather large sample size), more than two-thirds (171 of 243) have shown double-digit opposition.
Nor can Obamacare supporters take solace in more recent polling. RCP lists 31 polls on Obamacare in the past six months. All show that Americans oppose President Obama’s signature legislation. More than three-quarters of those polls (24 of 31) have shown double-digit opposition. The most recent poll — a CNN poll, which is the only poll taken since Ted Cruz’s filibuster — shows 19-point opposition to Obamacare (with 38 percent supporting Obamacare and 57 percent opposing it) and 40-point opposition among independents (27 percent support, 67 percent opposition).
Here’s a quick question: If 95 percent of all polls across three and a half years, and 100 percent of polls in the past six months, had shown support for Obamacare — with a supermajority of polls showing double-digit support — do you think the mainstream press might mention that with some regularity?
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Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda. This article was also published at National Review Online.