A national tracking poll on healthcare, released by Morning Consult on Tuesday, reveals that only 15% of registered voters agree with opponents of the Affordable Care Act that federal subsidies should only be available to those who signed up on a state-based health exchange. This poll was done in the aftermath of last month’s ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals. In Halbig v. Burwell, the three-judge panel, in a 2-1 decision, stated that only those who purchased insurance through state-based health exchanges are eligible for subsidies through the ACA. On the same day, another federal court offered a completely opposite decision in a similar case, stating that the intent of the law was clear and that all purchasers are eligible for subsidies and tax credits, not just those who went through a state exchange.
The poll shows that the American public has no appetite for another Republican-led war against Obamacare. While the survey shows that 27% of voters have no real opinion on the issue of ACA subsidies, likely due to a lack of familiarity with the Halbig case and conservative efforts to take them away from millions of Americans, 58% say that Obamacare subsidies should be available to everyone. That clearly shows that people are not in favor of taking away subsidies from the millions of residents in the 36 states that have not set up their own exchanges.
Even Republican voters aren’t buying this load of crap that subsidies were only meant for those who purchase their insurance through a state marketplace. 49% of Republicans are in favor of subsidies being available to everyone while only 23% say that it should only go to those who purchased insurance through their state’s exchange. Independents were in favor by a 50% to 16% margin while 71% of Democrats think subsidies should be widely available to only 7% who think it should be based on the state health exchanges.
This represents an enormous problem for conservatives who have been pushing this attempt to dismantle an essential component of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, in their zeal to finally bring down Obamacare, decided to focus on ambiguous language within the law that seemingly stated that only those who purchased health insurance through a state-based exchange could qualify for various subsidies and tax credits. Even though it is obvious that the intent of the law is to provide every healthcare consumer with the allowable assistance needed to purchase insurance, conservatives determined their best course of action was to take a simple drafting error and use it as their inroad to destroy Obamacare.
At this point, if Republicans are successful in getting the subsidies taken away from millions of people, how in the heck do they sell that as a positive to voters? “Hey, we made insurance unnecessarily more expensive for you. But, we had to because Obama. Vote for us!” Seriously, instead of just quickly passing a one-page bill in Congress to correct the drafting error in the law, Republicans are hoping to go to the Supreme Court with a case in the hopes that they can make health coverage harder to obtain for millions of Americans. Why? So they can prove that the law is “unworkable.”
As with immigration reform, Republicans are purposely shooting themselves in the foot due to some harebrained notion that in the end, it will hurt Obama and therefore help the GOP in the long run. It is an idiotic direction to take. Yet, here we are.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).