Here’s a huge blow to the ACA: even now, after the full court publicity press for the Obamacare has started in earnest, public opinion continues to swing against the law. In January, 44 percent of Americans opposed Obamacare and 51 percent supported it. Today, Politico reports that 57 percent oppose and 39 percent favor.
At the same time, the NYT is reporting that unions are becoming increasingly vocal in expressing their concerns about the ACA. Labor leaders reportedly promised President Obama last month that they would tone down the anti-ACA rhetoric at the recent AFL-CIO conference, but the anger slipped out anyway:
“If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed,” said Terence M. O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “We don’t want it to be repealed. We want it to be fixed, fixed, fixed.
“We’ve had our asses kicked on retirement security and we know our health funds are under siege,” he added. “We ask the president and Congress to do the right thing for the men and women we represent.”
With the unions, Obama is in a difficult position. If he gives into their central request—expanding subsidies to apply to special union plans—the law will cost a lot more (as much as $187 billion, some calculate). Adding that much to the ACA’s bill probably isn’t the wisest thing to do when overall public support is already in free fall. Then again, if the President doesn’t expand the subsidies, the unions will likely become even more vocal in their opposition, which would also be a PR disaster for the White House.
This is one of the many implementation challenges that Obamacare still faces, and the administration is rapidly running out of time to fix them.