Public opinion on gay marriage has changed a lot in recent years, perhaps more rapidly than on any other major issue. Yet as Jonathan Rauch noted last year, one demographic group has resisted that change: Republicans. As he wrote:
In moving as decisively as they have on gay rights, the Democrats are following the country....
But the dissenters have not vanished. Rather, they have holed up inside the Republican Party. According to polling by the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Democrats and almost 60 percent of independents call same-sex relations morally acceptable; only a bit over a third of Republicans agree. White evangelicals, in particular, are unique among major demographic and religious categories (including Catholics) in their fierce disapproval of homosexuality, and these days the vast majority of them (70 percent, according to Pew) are Republican or lean Republican.
To put the matter bluntly, the Republican Party is becoming an isolated bastion of anti-gay sentiment. That is not because Republicans and conservatives are immune to the general trend toward acceptance of homosexuality. It is because the trend is slower among Republicans.
But in today's Washington Post there's some interesting evidence of movement among Republicans. A strong majority of voters in Virginia, a state that passed a gay marriage ban in 2006, and 40 percent of Republicans now say "it should be legal for gay couples to get married." Note the changes from 2006 in this Post graphic:
Note especially that column in the lower right. How has public opinion in Virginia changed since the 2006 amendment vote? Support for gay marriage (or opposition to a ban) has risen by 13 points. Independents are up only 3 points. Democrats are up by 7 points, perhaps because of the endorsement of President Obama. And Republican support is up 25 points.
Last year, I called the sudden silence of Republican leaders on gay marriage "the sound of social change." It looks like they knew which way the wind was blowing in their own base.
Yet another state seems poised to lure employers away from Mississippi. Excerpts from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s press release:
Tennessee faces a decision this week about health insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.
I’m not a fan of the law. The more I know, the more harmful I think it will be for small businesses and costly for state governments and the federal government. It does nothing to address the cost of health care in our country. It only expands a broken system…
Since the presidential election, we’ve received 800‐plus pages of draft rules from the federal government, some of which actually limit state decisions about running an exchange more than we expected.
The Obama administration has set an aggressive timeline to implement exchanges, while there is still a lot of uncertainty about how the process will actually work. What has concerned me more and more is that they seem to be making this up as they go.
In weighing all of the information we currently have, I informed the federal government today that Tennessee will not run a state‐based exchange. If conditions warrant in the future and it makes sense at a later date for Tennessee to run the exchange, we would consider that as an option at the appropriate time.
The Affordable Care Act: Ten Months to Launch “Obamacare” – – Get Ready for Some Startling Rate Increases
I conducted an informal survey of a number of insurers…None of the people I talked to are academics or work for a think tank. None of them are in the spin business inside the Beltway. Every one of them has the responsibility for coming up with the correct rates their companies will have to charge…
On average, expect a 30% to 40% increase in the baseline cost of individual health insurance to account for the new premium taxes, reinsurance costs, benefit mandate increases, and underwriting reforms…
In states with the least mandates or for health insurance companies with the tightest underwriting now, the increase could be a lot more…
[E]xpect individual health insurance rates for people in their 20s and early 30s to about double…
Will the feds be ready to provide an insurance exchange in all of the states that don’t have one on October 1, 2013?
I have no idea. And neither does anyone else I talk to inside the Beltway. We only hear vague reports that parts of the new federal exchange information systems are in testing.
The former CIA director couldn’t get away with an affair in this town but the Obama administration has a complete lid on just where they are on health insurance exchanges and haven’t shown any willingness to want to talk about their progress toward launching on time – – except to tell us all not to worry.
We are all worried. I would not want to be responsible for the work that remains and only have ten months to do it…
The Republicans said this would not work. If it does not launch on time, or does with serious problems, I would not want to be an incumbent Democrat.
I told them not to call this the “Affordable Care Act.”
I launched the Anti‐Universal Coverage Club on the Cato@Liberty blog in 2007. The Club is “a list of scholars and citizens who reject the idea that government should ensure that all individuals have health insurance.”
Well, that list just got longer. A whole lot longer. I’ll let the folks at Gallup take it from here:
In U.S., Majority Now Against Gov’t Healthcare Guarantee
For the first time in Gallup trends since 2000, a majority of Americans say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to 2009, a majority always felt the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all, though Americans’ views have become more divided in recent years…
The shift away from the view that the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all began shortly after President Barack Obama’s election and has continued the past several years during the discussions and ultimate passage of the Affordable Care Act in March 2010.
The split is 54 – 44 percent, well outside the poll’s margin of error. Below the jump are the results in chart form:
Now all we need is for 54 percent of the public to “like” the Anti‐Universal Coverage Club’s Facebook page.
Here’s some ObamaCare implementation news from around the interwebs:
- “Minnesota Facing Bigger Bill For State’s Health Insurance Exchange”: Kaiser Health News reports Minnesota has increased its spending projections for operating the state’s ObamaCare Exchange by somewhere between 35 – 80 percent for 2015. Spending on the Exchange will rise by another 19 percent in the following year.
- The Wall Street Journal defends the 25 – 30 states that aren’t gullible enough to create an Exchange and therefore take the blame for ObamaCare’s higher‐than‐projected costs.
- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer ® has announced she will not implement an Exchange. That creates another potential state‐plaintiff, millions of potential employer‐plaintiffs, and (by my count) 430,000 potential individual plaintiffs who could join Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt in challenging the IRS’s illegal ObamaCare taxes. It also means that Arizona can start luring jobs away from tax‐happy California. There are four Hostess bakeries in California that might be looking to relocate.
- I’m enjoying a friendly debate with The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn and University of Michigan law professor Samuel Bagenstos over whether the those taxes really do violate federal law and congressional intent (spoiler alert: they do). I owe Bagenstos a response.
- PolitiFact Georgia rated false my claim that operating an ObamaCare Exchange would violate Georgia law. I explain here why it is indeed illegal for Georgia (and 13 other states) to implement an Exchange.
- ThinkProgress.org reports, “Romney’s Transition Chief Is Encouraging States To Implement Obamacare.” A better headline would have been, “Government Contractor Encourages More Government Contracts.”
- The Washington Examiner editorializes, “In California…state regulators have warned…insurance premiums will rise by as much as 25 percent once the exchange comes online…That’s the best‐case scenario.” And, “In 2014, seven Democratic Senate seats will be up for grabs in states Mitt Romney carried (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia). Unless Obama’s HHS bureaucrats pull off an unprecedented miracle of central planning, Obamacare could well sink Democrats again in 2014, the same way it did in 2010.”
ObamaCare is far from settled law. Here’s an excerpt from Butler’s blog post for the Journal of the American Medical Association:
President Obama’s narrow victory has left proponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) breathing a collective sigh of relief, believing that the legislation is safe. It’s true, of course, that the election’s outcome has ended the prospect of a new administration using Republican majorities in both chambers and the budget reconciliation process to force outright repeal. But the reality of the economic and political situation means the core elements of the ACA remain very much in play.
The primary reasons for this are the continuing problems with the federal budget deficit and the national debt and the worrying long‐term weakness of the economy. Add to that the increasing skepticism that the ACA’s blunt tools will slow costs.
Let’s remember that the most important provisions of the ACA, such as penalties for Americans lacking insurance and firms not offering it, the expansion of Medicaid, and the heavily subsidized exchange‐based coverage, do not go into effect until 2014. Meanwhile, new taxes on self‐employment and limits on flexible spending accounts are scheduled to go into effect next year, just as Congress will be trying to boost employment growth. Additionally, lawmakers will be desperately searching for ways to delay or cut spending to deal with the deficit. That adds up to 2013 being a year for buyer’s remorse in Congress and around the country.