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The Unpopular Health Care Compromise

The health care reform bill is still unpopular. Almost no one is completely happy with the compromise bill right now. A recent Gallup poll found that 46% of Americans want to repeal what Republicans are misleadingly calling “the Job-Killing Health Care Act,” compared with just 40% who want the bill to remain law. And today a Marist poll finds that fully 78% of Americans would like to see the bill repealed or changed.

The Affordable Care Act won’t be completely repealed any time soon—not as long as Democrats control the presidency or at least one chamber of Congress. The repeal vote the Republicans have scheduled in the House next week will be little more than a symbolic protest. What ultimately matters is not whether the health care bill is popular now, but whether it becomes more popular as its provisions become implemented.

But while the health care bill is unpopular now, that's not because everyone thinks it goes too far. In fact, as Greg Sargent points out, when you look at the Marist poll’s internals you’ll see that most of the people who say they want  the bill changed actually want it changed so that it does more, not less. In fact, the poll finds that by a 6 point margin more people want the bill expanded or left alone than want it scaled back or repealed.  The health care reform bill is unpopular, in other words, not because the health care reform project is itself that unpopular, but because the actual bill was such a compromise.

Photo credit: Thierry Geoffroy

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