WMUR Granite State Poll Historical Results*
A trend, also apparent in national polls but more clear in New Hampshire, emerges when looking at the results over time. The controversy surrounding the law's passage initially resulted in strong resistance (57% opposed, more than double that in support). As time went on, opposition softened, but has picked up again substantially since last fall. Currently, those opposed are once again in the majority (53%) and once again approaching the 2:1 ratio versus supporters. The support was strongest during the lull, well after the law was passed but before most of its provisions began to take effect.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that the program was designed to create several years of quiet. Implementing the law quietly allows the new bureaucracy to build up without much opposition. Once people begin feeling the negative effects and opposition hardens, it is hoped that it will be too late to dismantle years of "progress" in creating the new system. Even the delays built into the law have not been enough. President Obama continues to use selective enforcement of the law to delay some of the worst effects until after elections (first his own re-election, and now the mid-term elections of 2014) and further bureaucratic entrenchment have taken place.
One final, interesting, statistical point. In the Kaiser study,
cited on the previous page, there has been a recent surge in opposition from the people the bill is purported to have been written for. The uninsured, who are now beginning to struggle with the actual system that has been implemented, now overwhelmingly disfavor Obamacare. Opposition is polling at 56%, far more than double those with a favorable opinion (22%).
At the level of State politics here in New Hampshire, questions such as whether to repeal, replace or try to fix the system are generally beyond our control. Instead our efforts often focus on shielding NH from the uncertain but potentially fiscally damaging impacts in the future. During my term in the House (2011-2012) we passed legislation prohibiting New Hampshire from creating a State-based exchange. While State legislators can do little to influence the Obamacare implementation, we felt it was important to limit NH's exposure. Despite the new law, which was signed by Governor Lynch, as soon as the 2012 elections were over, the Governor and NH State agencies looked for ways
to circumvent this restriction. The newly-elected House also put forward
a bill to repeal that protection. This bill, HB544, was ultimately re-purposed to pass the House's version of Medicaid Expansion. This remains the current hot topic, as most Republican's reject the necessity of taking on what could potentially be a vast future cost in order to accept federal money in the short term.
The Senate version adds some additional clauses to mitigate against future cost shifting from the federal government. It also tries to solve some of the issues through the use of private insurance. private insurance. However, conservative voters and
leaders agree that this is a risk not worth taking on for a questionable return. Nevertheless, the Senate passed the "compromise" version of Medicaid Expansion, with all of Democrats and a majority of Republicans voting in favor.
This highlights importance of electing officials that agree with the majority of the voters.
*Source: The Granite State Poll, sponsored by WMUR-TV, and conducted by the University of New
Hampshire Survey Center.