The bad news for Obamacare isn’t getting any better. Just a short time before an extremely contentious midterm battle for the Senate, Democrats won’t be happy to see what the majority of Americans think of Obama’s signature legislation. According to a poll by McLaughlin & Associates, 44 percent of likely voters would like to see Obamacare repealed and replaced with a conservative alternative. A further 16 percent would like to see it repealed without a replacement. Only 32 percent of respondents said they wanted to keep Obamacare.
If the poll’s finding accurately reflect the temperature of the nation, it could signal a change in direction for the GOP. Many in Washington have pushed for small measures such as keeping Obamacare while making a few changes here and there. But if 60 percent of the country is ready to see it done away with altogether, it provides a clear way forward for Republicans who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
A Giant-Sized Problem
The fact is that Obamacare is too big, too unwieldy, and too wrong to be kept in place. Any attempts to fix it would cost millions of dollars without addressing the root problem: the program itself. It’s also important to avoid falling into the “sunk cost fallacy,” which is a mode of thinking some conservatives have espoused. If the damn thing isn’t working, it doesn’t make sense to keep pouring money into it.
Naturally, it’s extraordinary difficult to get rid of a program like this once it’s been put into practice. This is why conservatives were so adamantly against it from the beginning. They know all too well that once the federal government grows, it can be almost impossible to shrink it back down to size. Even so-called fiscally-conservative Republicans rarely call for the elimination of big federal programs with any ferocity.
A Republican Senate
According to at least one Senate Republican, the tide toward repeal may be strengthening. Rob Portman of Ohio said last week that he believed Obamacare repeal will be a top priority should the GOP take control of the Senate in November. “I suspect we will vote to repeal early – to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it’s a bad policy and we think it’s hurting our constituents.”
Portman also agrees with the majority of the McLaughlin poll’s respondents that it should be replaced with a conservative alternative. “The Republican approach has never been ‘let’s get rid of this’ but ‘let’s replace it with something that does deal with a very real problem in our healthcare system.'”
In Portman’s opinion, a Republican-led Congress can come together with Democrats to force the president to reconsider the ramifications of the law. Whether that comes to fruition or not remains to be seen.