HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As a high stakes political showdown in Washington continues to unfold, Main Street America watches and waits. Recent public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans are opposed to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but that may not necessarily translate to support for a government shutdown.
A CBS News poll released this week shows that Americans oppose defunding Obamacare by a margin of 56 to 38 percent, even though a majority of respondents admitted they would likely be worse off under the new law.
The health care law’s return to the spotlight was fueled by a marathon floor speech from Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) earlier this week. Cruz and fellow Republicans say higher insurance premiums that are starting to take effect due to the new law will give them the momentum they need to win public support. The GOP-controlled House passed a bill last week that will fund the federal government through December, but did not leave a penny for Obamacare. Democrats who control the Senate say they will remove the Obamacare defunding language when they convene on Friday.
WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Dr. Jess Brown said it's not yet clear who would be blamed for a shutdown, but admits the prospect is likely.
"We're not going to have a prolonged government shutdown, but I think a temporary one could be in the cards," said Brown. "The essence of Obamacare is here to stay. The only possibility of having enough change in the political system to change Obamacare fundamentally is both the Congressional and presidential elections of 2016. By then, many elements of Obamacare will have been implemented and tested."
House Republicans have maintained that they will not pass any revised bill that includes money for the health care law. President Obama said he will not negotiate on funding for the law he championed, vowing to veto any bill that does not include money to implement it.