Jonathan Cohn

A Muddled Message on Health Care Reform

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The latest polls on health care reform have not been encouraging, particularly if you're a Democrat trying to win re-election. Overall, the public is ambivalent about the Affordable Care Act, with slightly more people disapproving of the law than approving of it. Health care may not be hurting Democratic candidates that much, but it doesn't seem to be helping, either.

But a new poll from the Associated Press is a reminder that negative feelings about the Act mask not only widespread confusion about the law but also a sense that it didn't go far enough:

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1. ...

The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care.

As always, I wouldn't read too much into the verdict of any one survey. But it does seem clear that the extreme views you hear from Republican days, that government has no place meddling seriously in health care, is a minority view.

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