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On March 23, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act turned one. This bill, which was to be the legacy of the Obama presidency, has turned out to be one of the most divisive pieces of legislation, and in part contributed to the GOP midterm election victory. Let's see what has happened to the law during these 365+ days.
Unpopular as Ever- Last year, 49% of Americans thought that the health reform law was good, with 40% saying that they oppose it. One year later, it seems that Americans have made up their mind, with 59% saying they're against it and 37% being in favor. The healthcare law is not only unpopular with Republicans (91% against) but with independents as well (56% against).
Jumping Ship- Some of the most vocal supporters of the healthcare law, among them the AFL- CIO, TWU, and the SEIU had applied for waivers exempting them from the healthcare law on which they spent millions of dollars in member dues campaigning for. The Department of Health and Human Services has distributed over 1,000 of these waivers and the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have both harshly criticized the process, citing concerns over the transparency and fairness of the waiver process.
Educating the Public- One of the excuses from the Democrats for the poor results at the polls in November was the lack of "education" of the electorate about the joys and wonders of the healthcare law. In the months after the legislation passed Wal- Mart founder Andrew Grossman, along with late Sen. Kennedy's wife and Tom Daschle launched the Health Information Campaign. This AstroTurf attempt to educate the public and encourage the support of health reform has since fallen flat on its face. The "education" of the electorate has gone nowhere so far.
Reversing Course?- Last week, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, said that the healthcare law might place too great a burden on small businesses. Mr. Schultz had formerly been a supporter of the law. Mr. Schultz isn't the only one rethinking his stance on Obamacare. Even Rep. Weiner from New York, one of the most ardent Obama supporters, said that he is considering getting a waiver for New York City in order to have "more control over its own destiny." Getting control over healthcare is a key plank in the tea party platform.
Rulings from the Bench- Healthcare opponents received a significant boost when judges from Virginia and Florida ruled on the constitutionality of the PPACA. In December, Judge Henry Hudson struck down the individual mandate, and in January Judge Roger Vinson struck down the entire law. These judges have highlighted the legitimacy of the argument that the federal government cannot order a citizen to purchase a product.
During the past 365 days, the people who have maintained that the Obamacare mandate is harmful for our country, our freedoms, and our economy have been steadily winning the public debate. FreedomWorks has been heavily involved in that debate, and we won't let down until the Obamacare mandate is repealed in full.