The Popularity of Healthcare Reform

| Thu Apr. 15, 2010 1:48 PM EDT

A lawyer friend takes a crack at explaining why the healthcare bill isn't getting more popular post-passage, as a lot of us thought it would:

I've noted alot of ground-level discussion about the tax increases in the health bill. Frankly, whenever the bill is in discussion in my professional experience, it is usually in the context of taxes — not ideologically per se, but just something our clients need to be made aware of because there are concerns of hidden liabilities (and tax lawyers could be on the hook if they fail to point them out).

So the zeitgeist seems to be that the health bill has introduced a lot of financial-related uncertainty in the near term (despite active benefits). And it's this uncertainty (whether founded or not) that people seem to be absorbing more than any messages about immediate benefits. In fact, I haven't really heard anyone talking up the benefits. Maybe they are, but the financial negatives (perceived or otherwise) take center stage right now, which I guess is to be expected given the high unemployment.

My own guess is that this is just a matter of time. Healthcare reform will, in fact, eventually get more popular, but it's going to take a while. The tea party madness needs to calm down, the tax stuff has to get sorted out, the benefits have to start kicking in, and the public has to digest everything the bill is going to do. I suspect that this will all kick in a little bit before the November elections, but not massively. Passing the healthcare bill was better for Democrats electorally than caving in and doing nothing, but in the short term the effect will be pretty small.

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