Have you ever walked into a shop with a child and had them lead you
around to all the things they are sure you desperately need?
are odd trinkets of no real interest, but occasionally they may suggest something genuinely appealing. You move closer to admire an item, perhaps
even pick it up with a thought of bringing it home. But at some point in
your perusal you do what children don't--flip the thing over and check the
price. The question isn't whether you like it; it's whether you like it
I bring this up because liberals are still having a hard time
understanding how people could be so fond of elements of the Affordable Care
Act, aka Obamacare, and yet so un-fond of the law as a whole and the
individual mandate in particular. Case in point, this piece by the
Washington Post's Greg Sargent:
There's no denying that public opinion did not turn around on
health reform as many of us predicted it would. But Clifford Young, the
managing director for Ipsos polling, has an interesting new piece up that
argues that the questions surrounding public opinion on health reform are
much more complicated than they first appear.
Young points to Ipsos numbers that find the individual provisions in the
law still remain overwhelmingly popular. The upshot is that nine of the
bill's major provisions - from the ban on discrimination against people with
preexisting conditions, to the creation of insurance exchanges, to the
extension of insurance to young adults up to the age of 26 - are supported
by anywhere from 67 percent to 87 percent of Americans.
The individual mandate, meanwhile, is what remains overwhelmingly
unpopular, with only 35 percent supporting it.
Sargent spends the rest of his post wondering how to reconcile these
facts and what it will mean for Democrats in the 2012 elections. But there's
no mystery here; at least I don't think there is. People like all sorts of
wonderful ideas for reforming health care, like having children on insurance
policies up to age 26 and preventing preexisting conditions from playing a
role in coverage. It sounds great. And then you flip the thing over and look
at the price: individual mandate. Hmmmm--do I want it that much?
Democrats are like children let loose in a shop. They have a great time
picking out expensive gifts they are sure you'll love, but when you get to
the register you still have to swipe it on your own credit card. And, eventually, you'll have to pay the bill.