Republicans who promised to listen “to the people who sent us here” following the midterm elections will now find themselves acting against public opinion as they seek to defund the Affordable Care Act. That’s because a new CBS News poll finds that a majority disapprove of underfunding the law and “and many aren’t sure of its impact on the health care system”:
Most Americans, 55 percent, disapprove of the plan to cut off funding to the new health care reforms, and just 35 percent approve. Among Republicans, approval rises to 57 percent. Forty-nine percent of independents disapprove, and 38 percent approve.
Overall, Americans are wary of the new health care reform laws: 21 percent think the new law will make the system better, but 23 percent think the law will make the system worse. Another 44 percent say they don’t know enough to say what the law’s impact will be. Uncertainty has increased since the law was first passed last year.
And while there are partisan differences – 43 percent of Republicans think it will make the system worse, but 40 percent of Democrats see it as an improvement – large segments of Republicans, Democrats and independents don’t know what effect the law will have on the health care system.
As has been the case since the law was passed nearly a year ago, more Americans disapprove than approve of the legislation. Now, 33 percent approve, while 51 percent disapprove, including 34 percent who disapprove strongly.
But Republicans — who have pledged to press ahead with unraveling reform — have already dispensed with their pledge to listen to the people. During his speech at CPAC yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised to push ahead with repealing the Affordable Care Act in the Senate, despite a failed party-line vote. “We’re not about to retreat,” McConnell said, insisting that Republicans were “just getting started” in their campaign to rescind the law. “When we started this debate, the president’s vision of reform had the support of about 70 percent of the American people. But here’s the problem: We didn’t swear an oath to uphold whatever’s popular. We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution,” McConnell said, referring to a recent court ruling which found the law to be unconstitutional.
In November, however, the GOP leader promised that “Republicans have a plan for following through on the wishes of the American people.” “And, above all, it means listening to the people who sent us here,” he said.