From USA Today –
More than half of Americans say President Obama’s health care law is unconstitutional as it heads to the Supreme Court this month, a new poll shows.
At the same time, Congress’ official scorekeeper says the law could cost a bit more and leave more people uninsured than forecast.
The combined dose of bad news comes as both sides in the health care debate are raising the level of rhetoric before the historic court argument, which will consume six hours over three days March 26-28.
A new poll by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation found 51% of those surveyed say the court should rule that the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. That’s the linchpin of the law — the requirement that most Americans buy insurance or pay a penalty.
Twenty-eight percent say the court should uphold the mandate, while 21% said they didn’t know enough to make a judgment.
The poll found the public evenly split on the law, with 41% favoring it and 40% opposed. Those percentages have shifted only slightly in the two years since the law was signed.
If the court doesn’t throw out the law, 47% of those polled say, Congress should keep it or expand it, while 41% say it should be repealed.
The Congressional Budget Office has altered its official estimates of the law’s impact, both demographically and fiscally.
A new CBO report found that the law would increase the number of Americans with health insurance by 30 million to 33 million and would leave up to 27 million uninsured. The result — 93% insured — is below the previous estimate of 95%.
The report found the new insurance coverage provided under the law would cost about $1.1 trillion over 10 years, about $50 billion more than estimated. That includes $1.5 trillion in new insurance coverage or assistance and $400 billion in higher taxes and penalties to help pay the cost.
The budget agency still expects the entire law to save money because of other taxes, Medicare savings and changes in the way health care is delivered.