When I speak about the federal health law – as I was doing last weekend – after I talk about all the benefits like kids staying on their parents plans until age 26, cheaper drugs for seniors, reining in insurance company abuses and profits , small business tax credits, and so on someone always asks this question: “Who could be opposed to all that?”
The truth is, people aren’t opposed to all these changes. Poll after poll has found support for everything I’ve listed. The one provision some people don’t like is the individual responsibility requirement that people who can afford coverage but don’t get it through their job need to buy it. But people brighten up when I remind them that the health law requires members of Congress to buy coverage through the new health law too.
Given this, why this deep opposition among some? Truth is, it’s more about opposing the politics of the President than anything else. The details of the health law don’t matter to these hard-core opponents. The law has simply become a proxy for their opposition to any ideas or changes proposed by the other party.
Drew Altman, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation president, has a great commentary this week looking at this issue: “The ACA and Fluoridation: The Power of Political Symbols.” It’s a comparison of how the health law opposition mimics the years of political symbolism resulting from one of the great public health triumphs of the 20th century.