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Window to Washington

An inside-the-beltway look at the legislative and regulatory process.
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By Jessica Zigmond and Rich Daly

Forget the Supreme Court, the public is against the ACA

By Rich Daly
12:15 pm, Apr. 20

It's unknown whether President Barack Obama's unusual call earlier this month for the Supreme Court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made much of an impact on the justices, but it appeared to fall flat for another important group.

Contrary to the president's exhortations in an April 3 speech to a gathering of news editors for the court to uphold the 2010 healthcare law, a plurality of voters, 49%-38%, want the court to strike it down, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll released this morning. The telephone poll of 2,577 registered voters was taken April 11-17, the week after the president's widely covered address.

But the poll included even worse news for Democrats. An outright majority of respondents, 51%-38%, want Congress to repeal the law, including 57% of independents and 21% of Democrats. The poll is only the second time Quinnipiac found that an outright majority supported repeal.

The findings reflect a consistent 10-point margin of public opposition to the law since its enactment, according to the RealClearPolitics' poll of polls.

And despite Democrats' continued refrain that the public will grow to support the law over time, it's possible that the president has accepted that the law's disfavor and that it will not be an asset in his re-election campaign. That may be why he has stopped touting the law in his campaign speeches and is instead hammering a Republican overhaul of Medicare included in the House-passed budget.

For instance, in a Wednesday speech to college students, instead of hailing the hope of the law's benefits for college students, Obama stressed long-term fears of the Republican plan for Medicare.

“By the time you retire, Medicare would turn into a voucher system that likely would not cover the doctors or the care that you need—that would have to come out of your pocket,” Obama said.

It remains to be seen whether the new, darker healthcare message will resonate.

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter @MHRDaly.

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