Obamacare has created an unprecedented backlash for Democrats, a new analysis by the New England Journal of Medicine finds, as most Americans don't agree that it's up to the government to make sure everyone has health care coverage.
"There have backlashes, but never like this," said Harvard School of Public Health professor Robert Blendon, who co-authored the analysis of several polls taken since 2010, reports Politico
Just 47 percent of Americans believe the government should make sure there is health coverage for all, a number that has dropped drastically from 69 percent in 2006, before President Barack Obama took office.
And among voters most likely to cast ballots on Nov. 4, just one in four think the government should play a role in health care coverage, said the analysis, which was released on Wednesday.
However, most Americans don't want to see Obamacare go away. Just 31 percent want the landmark health care law repealed, and 23 percent want it scaled back, said the analysis, quoting a new Harvard School of Public health poll.
The shifting opinions could mean a push from Republicans and independents to pull back on Obamacare, the analysis finds, even though millions of Americans are now covered, as the debate is "about whether or not you believe you want to get everybody covered," said Blendon.
"Something happened on the way to the forum here that made that a much more controversial value."
While many conservatives are calling for Obamacare to be repealed if Republicans win control of the Senate in the Nov. 4 election, two top Republicans said this week that the controversial law likely won't be repealed even if GOP candidates do win their elections.
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee, said that there will likely be a repeal vote, but Obama will still be in office for two years and would never sign the bill.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told Fox News
that even with a majority rule of the Senate, Republicans still won't have the votes needed to reject the health care plan.
"It would take 60 votes in the Senate. No one thinks we're going to have 60 Republicans. And it would take a presidential signature. No one thinks we're going to get that," McConnell said.
The New England Journal of Medicine's analysis does not say why public opinion has changed on Obamacare, but Blendon pointed out that a Kantar Media study
found that the reform plan's opponents spent some $418 million on 880,000 negative advertisements between 2010, when the law was enacted, and this past May, burying ads by supporters by a 15 to 1 margin.
Unlike most political ads, the spots continued even after votes were taken in Congress and between political elections. Usually after Congress conducts its votes on such controversial issues the advertising goes away, Blendon said, but that hasn't happened with Obamacare.
For the survey, Blendon and co-author John Benson analyzed 27 polls from 14 news organizations. The Harvard poll, meanwhile, questioned 1,596 likely voters between Sept. 10-28.
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