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Health care dysfunction still isn't popular

<p>The polls have been pretty consistent for a few years: the Affordable Care Act isn't popular.</p>

The polls have been pretty consistent for a few years: the Affordable Care Act isn't popular. The component parts of the Affordable Care Act tend to be very popular, but the right's misinformation campaign has largely been a striking success: the public has been persuaded to hate the reform law, facts be damned.

With this in mind, if the Republican justices on the Supreme Court kill "Obamacare" in the next few days, plenty of Americans -- many of whom stand to lose a great deal from the law's demise -- will feel misguided pleasure.

But as Greg Sargent noted this morning, there's a catch to public attitudes Republicans need to keep in mind: the American mainstream still has no use for the old, dysfunctional mess, and still wants health care reform.

Today's Associated Press poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, want the President and Congress to start work on a new health bill if Obaamcare is ruled unconstitutional. Only 19 percent want the system left as is. In other words: Americans want reform.There's no denying that public opinion on Obamacare has not turned around, as some of us predicted it would. The new poll also finds that only 33 percent support the law, versus 47 percent who oppose it (though the AP doesn't break out those who think it didn't go far enough).But many other polls have shown that the individual reforms Dems support are quite popular.

Quite right. It's tough to predict with any confidence what the high court majority will say, but if the entirety of the law is struck down, I'd recommend Democrats have a replacement plan ready: it should cover young adults on their family plans until they're 26, guarantee protections for those with pre-existing conditions, offer tax breaks to small businesses and subsidies to those who can't afford insurance, eliminate annual and lifetime caps on coverage, lower prescription drug costs for seniors, and cover 100% of preventive care costs.

Does that plan sound familiar?

I am, of course, simply describing the elements of the Affordable Care Act, but since all of these ideas tend to enjoy broad bipartisan support, I figure it's as good a place as any to start a new reform conversation.

Regardless, the larger point here is that the Republican plan to simply roll back the clock -- pretending "Obamacare" never happened, replacing it with nothing -- isn't a legitimate option. Americans have been persuaded to oppose a law they don't know they like, but they haven't been persuaded to tolerate the old, broken, expensive, pre-reform system.