WaPo's Sargent Doesn't Get Why Americans Reject Costs of Obamacare

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? 

Sometimes these 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 that much.

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? Probably not.

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.


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