The Kaiser Family Foundation is out with some new polling data on the Affordable Care Act which is, as Kevin Drum says, pretty fascinating. There’s been a decline in support for the law, coming almost entirely from self-identified Democrats. I liked that result since I personally have felt my ardor for the ACA wane over the past year. The encouraging news is that, as shown in the chart above, people seem reasonably comfortable with the “keep and expand” framing of what to do next.
Who knows what exactly people have in mind when they say “expand” but broadly speaking that’s correct. And it’s interesting that for all the polarization of opinion and over-the-top rhetoric around the law, on some level I think most of the serious critics can agree that the biggest issues with the ACA are the extent to which it doesn’t go far enough. The law, if implemented, will expand access to the current dysfunctional health care system and then tinker around the edges with it in dozens and dozens of ways. But while access is going to be very important to the people who current lack it, the basic fact is that the health care system is dysfunctional in ways that call for remedies that go beyond tinkering. Members of congress really really really really don’t want to delve back into the weeds of health care reform, but when you look at the central role health care plays both in the federal budget and the national economy as a whole it’s clear that they’ll have to.