Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 1, 2013

Obamacare: Mend it, don't end it

(Continued)

When Gallup pressed further, asking respondents whether the changes they had in mind would scale the law back or expand it, 40 percent of those who wanted changes (and who answered the question either way) said they preferred to expand the law.

A CNN/ORC survey taken Oct. 18-20 found that respondents opposed the law, 56 to 41 percent. But when pressed further, 12 percent — nearly a quarter of those who opposed the law — said it wasn’t liberal enough. Only 38 percent of the entire sample — less than the number who favored the law — said it was too liberal. In a CBS News poll taken Oct. 18-21, a majority disapproved of the law, 51 to 43 percent. But when pressed as to why, the numbers turned upside-down. The percentage who said the law went too far dropped to 43. Twenty-nine percent said the law was about right, and 22 percent — nearly all of them Democrats and independents — said it didn’t go far enough.

Now comes a second NBC/Journal poll, conducted Oct. 25-28. The numbers look grim: Forty-seven percent say Obamacare is a bad idea, up from 43 percent in early October. When they’re asked whether the law “is working well the way it is,” “needs minor modifications to improve it,” “needs a major overhaul,” or “should be totally eliminated,” only 6 percent say it’s working well as is. But among the remaining options, 38 percent of respondents say the law needs minor modifications, 28 percent say it needs a major overhaul, and only 24 percent say it should be eliminated. The poll doesn’t ask those who favor a major overhaul whether the law should go further or be scaled back, so we don’t know whether, as in the other surveys, what looks like a majority for repeal or major rollback is really a minority. But the poll does ask whether Obamacare’s website problems “are short-term technical issues that happen in large projects like this and can be corrected” or “point to longer-term issues with the new health care law and its overall design that cannot be corrected.” On that question, 31 percent say the law’s faults can’t be corrected. Thirty-seven percent say they can, and 30 percent say it’s too soon to tell. There’s a majority for fixing or revising the program, but not for purging it.

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