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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Would Overturning the Health Law Help Democrats?

The Washington Post reports on the possible effects of a Supreme Court decision against the health care law:
A number of allies of the measure, including Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), said it’s possible that such a ruling could help Obama’s reelection campaign by galvanizing Democratic voters.
These Democrats did not think the oral arguments went well for the president. But they see an opportunity to rally voters who are passionate about health-care reform — and to portray the Supreme Court as a partisan body.
“If they overturn the individual mandate and undermine the central element of this bill a few months before the election, it will anger Democrats and rile up the base,” said Neera Tanden, president of the left-leaning policy group Center for American Progress and a policy adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign. “People will see it for what it is: an activist court rendering a partisan decision.”
Politico reports:

Overturning President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law would be a political boost for Democrats, veteran Democratic strategist James Carville said Tuesday.
“I think that this will be the best thing that ever happen to the Democratic party because health care costs are gonna escalate unbelievably,” Carville told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer of a possible Supreme Court decision to strike down the law. “I honestly believe this, this is not spin.
“You know what the Democrats are going to say - and it is completely justified: ‘We tried, we did something, go see a 5-4 Supreme Court majority,’” Carville added. “The public has these guys figured out. Our polls show that half think this whole thing is political.”
“Just as a professional Democrat, there’s nothing better to me than overturning this thing 5-4 and then the Republican Party will own the health care system for the foreseeable future. And I really believe that. That is not spin,” Carville said.
This reasoning would be plausible if most voters supported the law.  But they don't.  In fact they want the Supreme Court to strike it down, in whole or part. At The Washington Post, Scott Clement reports:
Most Americans want the Supreme Court to invalidate at least part of the landmark health-care law that was passed in 2010, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The law’s individual mandate remains a key sticking point, with one in four hoping the court will strike down the provision but leave the rest of the law intact.

More than four in 10 — 42 percent — want the high court to throw out the entire law, 25 percent want to do away with the mandate alone and a similar proportion wants the justices to uphold the entire law.
Just over half the public thinks the mandate is unconstitutional (51 percent), according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last week. In that survey, fewer than three in 10 (28 percent) said they think the mandate is constitutional. Nearly as many were unsure. Previous Kaiser polls found the mandate to be the least popular provision in the law; majorities supported all other components tested.