Depending on which exit poll you read, the primary issue that drew the voters to the polling booth was the startling and unprecedented growth of government that has occurred in the last two years. And, while the issue of jobs and the economy were foremost in most voters’ minds, as many as 45% of those polled say it was the health care reform law that tipped the scales for them because it symbolizes the uncontrolled encroachment of government into their lives.
Other polls and surveys are more pointed in their assessment of the public sentiment towards Obamacare. A pre-election survey conducted by Rasmussen shows that 59% of Americans are in favor of repealing the law. But, a closer study of the actual election results paints the darkest picture of the electorates disdain for Obamacare and anyone who dared support it.
Voters Cleaned House on Health Reform Mandate
Of course, the Democrats who cast their votes for the health care law took the brunt of voter backlash with nearly 90 losing their House seats and six losing their Senate seats. The lone Republican House member who cast his vote for Obamacare was also defeated.
More telling are some of the results of some of the local elections. The voters in two states, Arizona and Oklahoma passed constitutional amendments that are aimed at stopping the individual mandate from taking effect in those states. And, with six new Republican governors elected, we can expect the number of states challenging Obamacare in the courts, currently numbering 22, will increase to somewhere near 29.
Obamacare was a defining issue for voters on the opposite side of the issue bringing out those who feel that the new measure needs to be supported and even expanded. They represent a small minority of voters, approximately 19% who feel the Obamacare is good for America. Another 8% feel that it doesn’t go far enough.
Reading the Voters’ Tea Leaves Regarding Health Insurance
So what can we expect to happen with Obamacare after the voters have spoken? The Republicans are using the election results to support their contention of a mandate to repeal it. Democrats are spinning the results to their contention that the voter mandate is not to repeal it, rather that they want Congress to work in a cooperative, bipartisan fashion to address the many ills of the country. With each party controlling one of the houses of Congress, we should count on little in the way of bipartisanship on this issue.
Still, Republicans plan on taking the fight to the House floor by forcing vote after vote on actions to repeal. They’ll get shot down in the Senate, but at least their voices and the voices of at least 59% of the voters will be heard. They will also chip away the law with attempts to defund specific components that come up for funding. They can also bury certain parts of the bill in committee hearings that could prevent them from seeing the light of day for a long while.
There is a still a lot to be decided in the courts as well, as at least one of the lawsuits brought by the states continues to move forward. There will more. In the meantime, bits and pieces of the health care reform law continue to take effect. Thus far, there has been little in the way of positive effects that could possibly change the public’s sentiment. In fact, the more they see, the less they like it. It’s going to be a very interesting, if not entertaining next 24 months.
photo credit: j_bary