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A blow to Obamacare could deal the GOP a political hit too

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Sometimes voters don't really appreciate something until they're about to lose it. The public's approval of Obamacare ironically climbed above 50% as Trump, who pledged to kill it, was elected.

Public approval has held steady at about 53% to 40% disapproval, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The Gallup Poll has shown similar approval ratings around 50% since it a record high 55% in April 2017.

Not surprisingly, support and opposition falls strongly along partisan lines. Republicans show overwhelming disapproval, which reminds me of how the Grand Old Party, let us not forget, came up with the "Obamacare" nickname in an early effort to scuttle the ACA.

Now the GOP has an opportunity to do something with the health care issue besides trying to kill it. If ever there was a time for the GOP to put on their thinking caps and show serious concern about the nation's health care needs amid rising costs and shrinking coverage, this is it.

Yet I am just as underwhelmed by some of the socialism-lite offered by presidential candidates Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on the Democrats' far-left wing. Eliminating the choice of private insurance coverage, as Sanders still aims to do, alienates sympathizers like me who think private coverage should be a choice, not an enemy.

 

Pushing extreme notions like that back to the sensible center is what we Americans need conservatives to do, if they can escape the mind-numbing shackles of political tribalism -- a malady in search of a remedy in both parties.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

(c) 2019 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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