February 13, 2016

Health care debate back in play

Expect the debate over federal health care reforms to come up often in the coming months, as we head into the final months before the November elections. With the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act last week, Marquette University Law School public policy professor Charles Franklin says the issue will likely be a hot topic heading into the presidential and Congressional elections.

Franklin says the decision certainly puts health care back at the center of political debate, similar to what happened in 2010 in the aftermath of the law’s passage. Republicans surged in elections across the country that year, winning back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Despite the often heated debate over health care, Franklin does question how much influence the law will have on the race. He notes that polls have shown little change in where people stand on the measure since it passed, so it’s unlikely to swing many voters.

A Marquette University Law School poll released last month showed 33 percent of Wisconsinites supported keeping the law intact, 38 percent wanted to see the law overturned, and 19 percent of those responding wanted only portions of the reforms should be kept in place.

Franklin says voters seem more concerned right now about how candidates plan to fix the economy. He says it remains to be seen if health care will replace that issue, which would depend on how candidates decide to debate the topic.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:01)

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