Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stood on the steps of the Supreme Court on Monday, where arguments about President Obama’s healthcare bill are being heard this week, and boasted that he is the only candidate who would follow through on his pledge to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or as it is better known as, Obamacare.
The issue of Obamacare has become the main issue in the Republican primary battle, with each candidate trying to outdo one another over how fast they will repeal the law if they are elected president in November. It is no longer about getting rid of the individual mandate; the Republican candidates are pledging to repeal the entire law.
What they may not realize is that they're playing a dangerous political game with the issue of healthcare. Repealing President Obama’s healthcare overhaul will certainly score them points with their Republican base and may resonate with independents in the short term, but the Republicans will do some damage to their party in the long-run if they go ahead with their promise to scrap the law.
When Americans are asked whether they support President Obama’s health care bill, a plurality say they do not. However, when asked about some of the main components of the bill, guess what? A vast majority of the American people support them.
According to a poll by The New York Times and CBS, when asked about the component of the bill that outlaws insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, 85 percent agreed with that component.
68 percent of respondents approved the provision allowing young adults to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26. This provision of the bill is already starting to provide benefits. Because of this component of the bill, the number of young adults without health insurance fell by 2.5 million in 2011 alone.
Before the ACA was passed, senior citizens had to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs once they reached their coverage limit. The Act offers discounts to seniors to reduce the Medicare coverage gap, making the cost of prescription drugs more affordable for seniors on Medicare. When asked if they support this component of the bill, 77 percent said yes.
So it turns out that the health care bill signed by the president two years ago is actually very popular once people know what is actually in it.
Republicans need to be careful here. If Santorum or Romney is elected president and they go through with their pledge to scrap Obama’s health care law, and millions of people lose coverage and prescription drug costs for seniors rise once again, the American people will not be happy and they will pay a heavy political price.