The health care reform legislation caused a lot of problems for Democratic candidates this year due to all the misinformation about the plan spread by the right. It might also cause some problems for Republicans. If they stick with claiming to have a mandate to repeal health care reform Republicans risk objections from the majority of the country which wants to keep the current law or expand upon it. McClatchy reports:
The post-election survey showed that 51 percent of registered voters want to keep the law or change it to do more, while 44 percent want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether.
Driving support for the law: Voters by margins of 2-1 or greater want to keep some of its best-known benefits, such as barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. One thing they don’t like: the mandate that everyone must buy insurance.
Making matters even more complicated for them, the newly elected Republican members of the House face demands from their base that they not only repeal health care reform but that they also decline government provided health care for members of Congress. Public Policy Polling reports:
Most Americans think incoming Congressmen who campaigned against the health care bill should put their money where their mouth is and decline government provided health care now that they’re in office. Only 33% think they should accept the health care they get for being a member of Congress while 53% think they should decline it and 15% have no opinion.
Democrats are actually the most supportive of anti-health care Congressmen taking their health care, with 40% saying they should accept it to 46% who think they should decline. But Republicans and independents- who put these folks in office in the first place- strongly think they should refuse their government provided health care. GOP voters hold that sentiment by a 58/28 margin and indys do 56/27.
This is an issue where Democrats really have the opportunity to create tension between the newly elected officials and the Tea Partiers who put them there by highlighting the disconnect between the freshmen Republicans’ rhetoric and their actions. Their base clearly expects them to act in a way consistent with their stated opposition to government provided health care but given Andy Harris’ recent outburst about his care not starting quickly enough it’s not clear the new electeds are getting the message. If Tea Party activists continue to get let down by the Republicans they elect it increases the possibility for them to shift their energies toward third party conservative candidacies in 2012.