In an interview with Newsmax TV’s Ashley Martella yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) claimed that President Obama’s health reform law — which she called the “crown jewel of socialism” — is unpopular with voters, and that they want it repealed. “The American people have said overwhelmingly that they want this bill repealed,” she said. “As a matter of fact, Ashley, the more people learn about what’s in Obamacare, and when they see the devastating impact of it, the more they dislike this bill and want it gone,” she added. Watch it:
Bachmann has never received anything better than a rating of “false” from the Pulitzer Prize-winnning fact-checking website PolitiFact — “We have checked her 13 times, and seven of her claims to be false and six have been found to be ridiculously false,” PolitiFact editor Bill Adair said — and she won’t break the truth barrier with this statement.
An AP poll released Sunday revealed that only one-in-four Americans — just 26 percent — want the health law repealed. An ABC/Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that “just 18 percent favor repealing it entirely.” And a New York Times/CBS poll released today found that just 20 percent of Americans want to fully repeal the health reform law. And as the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent notes, even those numbers may be inflated:
The [NYT/CBS] poll then asked people who support repeal an open-ended question: Which parts of the law do you want done away with? The number who said “everything” drops again, this time to eight percent. Eleven percent want the individual mandate repealed. But guess what? The number who called for repeal of other key individual items in the bill — the pre-existing conditions piece; the coverage for people up to age 26; and so on — was consistently one percent or less for each of them.
Moreover, Bachmann is flat out wrong when she says “the more people learn about what’s in Obamacare…the more they dislike this bill and want it gone.” In fact, the exact opposite is true. As the Center For American Progress’ Ruy Teixeira noted, “most parts” of the Affordable Care Act are “actually quite popular,” and polls consistently show that Americans are more supportive of the law once they are told what’s in it.
But Bachmann is hardly the first Republican to falsely claim that the American people are on their side:
— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH): “We made a commitment to the American people. We’re listening to the American people. They want this bill repealed.” [1/6/2011]
— Rep. Steve King (R-IA): “[T]he American people have consistently and correctly demanded that Congress uproot the law from the U.S. Code.” [1/18/2011]
— Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “House Republicans have listened to the American people by acting to repeal this law. The question is whether the White House and its allies in the Senate will follow suit and support similar legislation that responds to the will of the people.” [1/19/2011]
Republicans are surely welcome to continue telling the American people that the American people favor repeal — unfortunately for them, it’s simply not true. Former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill First understands this, and urged Republicans not to repeal the law this week.