Why Do People Oppose the Health-Care Law?

A CNN poll published Monday finds that the majority of those surveyed oppose the health-care overhaul passed by Congress this year -- but that only some of them do so because of an opposition to the government taking a greater role in regulating the market.

Reports CNN:

Overall, 54 percent oppose the law, down five points from March, with 43 percent in favor of the measure, up four points from earlier this year.

But here's the critical fine print:

roughly a quarter of those who oppose the new law do so because it is not liberal enough. Only 37 percent of the public opposes the new law because it is too liberal.

The fact that so many people dislike the health-care reforms -- and for different reasons -- means it may be a long time before the public comes to terms with them. But it also means that opposition to the health-care overhaul from only one perspective may not win broad public support, either.

That said, the one provision in the new law that is widely opposed is the same one Republicans and conservatives are challenging in court and have vowed to overturn:

six in ten oppose the requirement that all Americans get health insurance, with 38 percent saying they favor the provision....

"Among Democrats, 54 percent favor the insurance requirement, but more than six in ten Independents and Republicans oppose it," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Women are more likely than men to support that provision, but even among women, 53 percent oppose it."

People do not like the idea of health-care mandates, for some reason. I'd love to see some more fine-grained research into the question of why.

Is it on account of a philosophical opposition to being told what to do by the government?

Or is it partly a consequence of our private-insurance and employment-based system, so that people fear being penalized for skipping on insurance of they lose or switch jobs and drop out of the system for a few months?

Or perhaps the opposition comes from memories of being young and healthy and impecunious? Those who are young have one of the highest rates of being uninsured, because they generally can skate by without it and also don't have a lot of money.

Just as we can't assume that all opposition to the health-care overhaul stems from conservative principles -- some of it clearly comes from liberal ones -- I'm not sure we can assume we know why people dislike the idea of health insurance mandates so much.

Leave your thoughts in the comments, if you think you know.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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