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Health Care’s Horrible Political Equilibrium

The majority of people on the right and on the left want to see the Affordable Care Act changed or repealed, only a tiny sliver thinks it should remain in its current form. From Gallup:

Trend: Attitudes Toward the Affordable Care Act

I like this poll because it does a great job capturing the current political dynamic surrounding health insurance. The law is unpopular in part because people on the left and right have real problems with it. Yet Congressional Republicans’ goal of just repealing it is also very unpopular because people acknowledge there are very real problems with our health care system.

At the same time, Republicans can’t officially move from this total repeal position because it is still very popular with their base and the only political worry for most Congressional Republicans is a primary. This makes it hard for Republicans to even talk about conservative fixes to the real technical problems because that could be seen undermining their repeal effort.

On the other hand, the Obama team is so concerned with PR spin and saving his legacy they are shutting down talk on the left about how it has problems which need to be fixed. Their message is just “give it a chance.”

The result is a horrible equilibrium. We are stuck with a flawed, unpopular law since the only political alternative is very unpopular repeal effort and no energy behind real plans to fix it. So it is likely going to just limp along as the poorly designed law that it is.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at