Opinion Brief

Doubling down on 'ObamaCare': A 'political nightmare' for Democrats?

The White House is once again talking up the benefits of President Obama's health-care overhaul, and Republicans are licking their chops

As we approach the Affordable Care Act's two-year anniversary on March 23 — not to mention the Supreme Court's high-stakes hearing to decide the law's fate a few days later — "President Obama's re-election campaign has launched an all-out defense of his landmark, and unpopular, health care overhaul," says Zeke Miller at BuzzFeed, making the ACA a key feature of fundraising emails and campaign videos. Republicans are eager to discuss "ObamaCare," too, since they see the topic as a "political nightmare" for Democrats. Is Team Obama smart to make a big push to turn around public opinion on his signature domestic achievement, or is any discussion of health-care reform a loser for the Left?

Obama has already lost this fight: The president's "robust re-education campaign" won't make Americans fall in love with "ObamaCare," says Guy Benson at Townhall. In fact, two years later, a battery of new polls show the law is still "deeply unpopular, and most Americans would like to see it repealed." That probably explains why, bluster to the contrary, Obama "has 'no plans' to make formal remarks on the anniversary of his own law.""Super-majority opposes Obamacare's individual mandate"

But Democrats have to do something: The Affordable Care Act "isn't easy to love," largely because it keeps so much of the flawed current system in place, says Paul Krugman at The New York Times. But overall, Obama's law will still do an enormous amount of good. "One indicator of just how good it is comes from the apparent inability of its opponents to make an honest case against it." And that's why Democrats need to talk up health-care reform and debunk GOP attacks. If they don't, "there is a real chance that these lies will succeed in killing health reform.""Hurray for health reform"

The public verdict on "ObamaCare" may be years away: Both sides in this bitterly partisan fight believe "the next two weeks will be crucial to getting out their message about the Affordable Care Act," says Sarah Kliff in The Washington Post. And yet, it seems unlikely that the imminent "Obamacarepalooza" will move the opinion needle, which has been "stuck stubbornly in place" for two years now. Opinion will only truly change when people start feeling the impact of the law, for better or worse, and that won't happen until key provisions take effect in 2014. Or it might not happen at all, if the Supreme Court strikes down key parts of the law."The politics of 'Obamacareapolooza'"

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