Have we reached a turning point? 55 percent of U.S. voters now wish the Affordable Care Act had never passed and the 2009 system was back, according to a new Fox News poll. That’s a fairly surprising shift: Previous polls showed widespread dissent over the new law but no desire to go back to what we had before it.In the face of intensifying opposition to the law, it’s no wonder that supporters are becoming increasingly vocal about changing it. There’s been bipartisan support for scrapping the ACA’s employer mandate for some time now, but WaPo reports that support for a repeal of the mandate is rising on the left:
“Repeal of the employer mandate might, in fact, not be such a bad idea,” Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University and vocal supporter of the Affordable Care Act, wrote this week in a column for Health Affairs. […]The Urban Institute, a left-leaning policy research group, recently released a report concluding that nixing the mandate would “eliminate labor market distortions in law” and “lessen opposition to the law from employers” while only reducing health coverage across the country by a rather tiny 0.07 percent.
Perhaps the law’s supporters shouldn’t be so quick to call for a repeal, however. Though severing the link between insurance and employment makes good sense in an age when people change jobs frequently and quickly, repealing the mandate would likely cause considerable disruptions in the short term. It could also raise the cost of the law for the taxpayer if the people who are kicked off employer-provided plans wind up getting subsidized insurance in the ACA exchanges. So doing away with the mandate could actually increase the public’s opposition to the law, not decrease it. Either way, the calls for repealing the mandate show that we still don’t know what kind of Obamacare we will end up with. The law is already markedly different from its original incarnation; in the next few years it could change even more.