ObamaCare Anniversary Not A Big F***ing Deal At The White House

The Obama Administration will not be publicly acknowledging the second anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act later this week:

President Obama will not mark the two-year anniversary of his signing of the healthcare law — which takes place days before the Supreme Court offers a decision on the constitutionality of his signature legislative achievement.

Senior administration officials said on Tuesday that Obama will not be offering a vigorous public defense of the law, holding events or even making public remarks in the lead-up to the Supreme Court case.

Obama will instead leave arguments to the Justice Department, which begins defending the law on Monday.  Likewise, Obama is not expected to hold an event around the two-year anniversary on Friday, said officials who labeled it a faux milestone and off the radar of most Americans.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday the administration was not focused “on discussing anniversaries, particularly, although I’m sure others will want to discuss this.”

Some observers say it’s a missed opportunity for the White House.

“It’s a little surprising that they’re not trying to get more out of it,” said Martin Sweet, an assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University. “They could go out to the American people, explain what’s happening and set themselves up for whatever happens.

“They might be a little worried about the backlash,” Sweet said, adding that he thinks it is a miscalculation.

Maybe it is, maybe the Administration simply doesn’t want to have to deal with inevitable press questions that would arise if the were making a big push for the law at the same time that the Supreme Court was on the verge of hearing arguments in a case that may end up declaring the law unconstitutional. Especially since recent polling seems to indicate that the public wants  the Court to do just that:

A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 68% of the public want the Supreme Court to strike down the individual health insurance mandate. That includes 42% who want the Court to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act and 26% who want it to strike down the mandate alone. If forced to choose, 52% of those who want the Court to strike down only the mandate would prefer for the Court to get rid of the entire law, if that is the only way to rule the mandate unconstitutional. That means that some 55% would rather have the Court invalidate the entire law than leave the mandate in place. By a 52-41 margin, respondents in the WP/ABC poll also say that they disapprove of the health care law overall.

Support for invalidating the mandate cuts across ideological lines, with even a slight 48-44 plurality of Democrats saying they want the court to strike it down. These results are similar to those reached in other recent polls on the constitutionality of the mandate.

These poll results do not prove either that the law is unconstitutional or that the justices are necessarily going to rule the way the public wants. The public’s knowledge of constitutional law is weak, and the justices don’t always rule in accordance with public opinion.

This is true, of course, but poll results like this do indicate that public disdain for the PPACA remains as high as it was in 2010. Perhaps the Administration just doesn’t want to draw attention to something that the public is so obviously ambivalent about.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. legion says:

    A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 68% of the public want the Supreme Court to strike down the individual health insurance mandate.

    What I’d really like to see is a survey of how many people actually _use_ the ACA, whether they know it or not.

  2. James Joyner says:

    A related question: How common is it to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of bill signings?

  3. @James Joyner:

    I do recall the President marking the day last year with an event and speech of some kind. It wouldn’t have been unexpected for them to do something this years given the fact that they’ve been in campaign mode since at least September of last year

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, given that Obamacare elected Boehner as House Speaker, nearly elected McConnell as Senate Majority Leader, and helped to elect GOP governors in places such as Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico, there’s not really all that much to celebrate if you’re on Team Obama.

    Regarding Zombieland’s present opinion of Obamacare, I’m not too sure that “ambivalent” is the correct word. Did you check out the internals of that putative poll?

    According to ABC/WaPo it was a canvass of adults only, not even registered much less likely voters. If 68% and then 42% of “adults” polled by ABC/WaPo want to ditch respectively the individual mandate and the entire scheme what do you suppose the numbers would be for likely voters in the key swing states? It would be a helluva lot higher than two-thirds and nearly one-half, that’s for certain, which to my way of thinking takes matters outside of the “ambivalent” column and puts them into the one marked “strongly opposed.”

  5. An Interested Party says:

    How common is it to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of bill signings?

    In other words, what is the reason for this pointless post…

  6. walt moffett says:

    Maybe some one will post a link to a well documented assessment of what goals have been achieved by PPCPA and the road ahead.

  7. G.A. says:

    ObamaCare Anniversary Not A Big Flukeing Deal At The White House

    fixed that for you Doug:)

  8. SKI says:

    @An Interested Party: It’s become par for the course for Doug. As the election gets closer, he is getting more partisan and less objective.