Keep and Fix

Jonathan Chait has an interesting piece on the “keep and fix” solution for Obamacare (New York Magazine).  One of the more interesting points: the parts of the Affordable Care Act that people like the most are also the parts that are least widely recognized as being part of Obamacare. Example: 81 percent have a favorable view of closing the Medicare “doughnut hole” (part of the prescription drug program in Medicare Part D). Yet only 46 percent know that it is part of the Affordable Care Act.

In contrast, the parts of the ACA that are the least popular are the most widely recognized features of the Act. Thus, 40 percent support the individual mandate and 74 percent recognize that it is part of Obamacare.


Given the low level of awareness of what is in the ACA, when polls reveal that a large percentage of Americans want to  “fix” Obamacare, it can be interpreted as a desire to jettison the individual mandate. The problem, is clear:

A “keep and fix” solution that polls well, then, would probably involve eliminating the individual mandate and keeping everything else. But the reason the mandate is there is because it’s hard to make the other parts work without it.”

Chait concludes:

The public likes keeping the parts of Obamacare where they get money, and opposes the parts where they pay money. In other words, Obamacare, politically, is becoming like just about every other government program.

Any surprises here?

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