The reasons why Barack Obama won a second term are likely to be debated for some time, but a survey by the polling company inc./WomanTrend for Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) suggests Obamacare was not one of those reasons.
Conducted on Election Day, the survey revealed that only about one quarter of all Americans (26%) support the full implementation of the law, several key provisions of which kick in as early as Jan. 1. The law remains so unpopular that less than half of self-identified Democrats (48%) back full implementation.
The president, evidently mindful of the hefty percentage of voters (43%) who favor repeal, strenuously avoided mention of Obamacare in his campaign talking points except in the most abstract and tangential ways.
With his victory, however, the unpopular measure, which was jammed through Congress purely along party lines and even then only by means of legislative sleight of hand, is the law of the land. And the president and his fellow Democrats are the sole owners.
Most of the provisions will not take effect until 2014, during which year individuals will be forced to buy government-approved insurance policies or pay a tax. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 6 million uninsured Americans, most of them middle-class, will be saddled with that tax. So much for the president’s endlessly repeated claim that the middle class won’t see their taxes increase by so much as a dime.
But the law is weighted down with other penalties as well. Owners of businesses with 50 or more employees will be “taxed” $2,000 per if they fail to provide health insurance. This axe over the head of business owners, which has been threatening to fall since 2010, has been a leading factor in the slowdown in hiring over the past three years. It will now prompt a wholesale freeze on business expansion and precipitate layoffs.
Add the impending Medicare tax hike on “rich” individuals (couples earning more than $250,000), the 3.8% tax on interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents, and the other Obamacare hidden taxes, and you have recipe for a major economic disaster—and that’s before allowing the Bush tax cuts to evaporate on the upper 2% of taxpayers. The possibility of a 2014 midterm “shellacking” that dwarfs 2012 looms large.
Since centrist Democrats were never on board with the Affordable Care Act to begin with, will there be pressure in the Senate to visit the repeal bill that has already passed the House? And should such legislation land on the president’s desk, will he sign it?
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