Americans are sharply divided over Thursday’s Supreme Court decision on the 2010 healthcare law, with 46% agreeing and 46% disagreeing with the high court’s ruling that the law is constitutional. Democrats widely hail the ruling, most Republicans pan it, and independents are closely divided.
When asked what they want Congress to do now that the high court has upheld the 2010 law, 31% say they would repeal the law entirely and 21% would keep the law in place but repeal parts of it. A quarter of Americans swing in the other direction, saying they would like Congress to pass legislation to expand the government’s role in healthcare beyond what the current law does. Thirteen percent want to keep the law in place and do nothing further.
Views on this question are highly partisan, with 65% of Democrats coming down on the side of maintaining, if not expanding, the law, and 85% of Republicans coming down on the side of repealing it, either in whole or in part. Independents are more evenly divided, with 40% in favor of keeping or expanding the law and 49% in favor of repealing all or part of it.
Four in five Americans tell Gallup they will take candidates’ views on healthcare reform into account to at least some degree when voting for major political offices this fall. This includes 21% who say they will vote only for a candidate who shares their views on healthcare reform and 59% who say healthcare will be just one of many important factors they will consider when voting. A relatively small 12% say healthcare reform will not be a major factor in their vote.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans see politics as having a heavy hand in the ruling, possibly reflecting a knee-jerk belief among Americans that politics is always a factor. Alternatively, it could specifically reflect the fact that eight of the nine justices voted in politically predictable ways. Or it could reflect a belief on the part of some Americans that Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to side with the four liberal justices may have been influenced by the substantial political implications of the case.
In any event, 64% of Americans say politics played too great a role in the court’s decision, while 29% disagree. The vast majority of those who disagree with the decision, 84%, believe politics played too great a role, but so do nearly half of those who agree with the decision, 47%.
Accordingly, 80% of Republicans believe politics played too big a role, compared with 67% of independents and 47% of Democrats.
But wait! There’s more!
Voters are reacting in broadly negative ways to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the legislation known as Obamacare, a new Newsweek/Daily Beast poll finds, with a majority disapproving of the ruling, fearing health-care costs and taxes will rise, and preferring Mitt Romney to President Obama on the issue.
At the same time, voters scored the ruling a short-term political win for the president by a huge margin.
Overall, 50 percent of those polled said they disapprove of the court’s 5–4 decision, while 45 percent said they support it. Consistently, a majority of voters said that they oppose the individual mandate (53 percent); believe taxes will increase (52 percent); believe their personal health-care costs will increase (56 percent); and disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care in general (58 percent). Only 24 percent of those polled said that they believe the ruling will make the country better off.
I’m not gonna speculate on why Chief Justice Roberts ruled the way he did. Maybe he’s a diabolical genius, or maybe he’s a wimp. Maybe he flipped a coin. I don’t know. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. At least not until the next time we try to figure out how he’s going to rule. The decision stands alone. YMMV
As for the political implications of the ruling, I’m gonna let things play out a bit before I render an opinion. I was right about the court’s ruling as far as the commerce clause, but I never expected them to backdoor it as a tax. I don’t think anyone has figured out all the implications yet.
I did want to talk a little about the ObamaTax polls though. Assuming that Congress doesn’t repeal it first, I predict its popularity will drop dramatically once they start implementing it. There is a reason that it doesn’t take effect until after the election.
I’ll confess I have no clue exactly how ObamaTax will work, other than people will be required to buy health insurance coverage whether they want it or not. Some people will probably find it cheaper to pay the penalty and do without health insurance. Some people will get coverage through Medicaid. I am eligible for medical benefits through the VA and I hope that doesn’t change.
Do you know how it will affect you? Do you know how you will pay, how much you will pay, who you will pay and what coverage you’ll be paying for? Do you even know who your doctor will be? Will you have any options?
I predict that when people start learning the answers to those questions, most of them will not be happy.