Two years ago, the White House had hoped that support for the measure would rise as the focus turned from the politics and legislative deal-making to implementation of early, popular provisions. But the focus never turned away from politics, as Republicans continued to campaign against the law through the 2010 midterm elections and beyond. At the same time, some of the early provisions ran into trouble in the implementation.
In the last two years, critics ran $204 million worth of negative TV ads about the health law, vs. $58 million in ads by supporters, according to data released Thursday by the nonpartisan Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad spending.
Now administration officials are looking ahead to 2014, when the bulk of the law takes effect, particularly the health care exchanges and subsidies aimed at covering the uninsured. “We accept the fact that until the full benefits of the bill are implemented, it will be hard to move the opinion of some people,” the senior administration official said.
At the same time, White House officials are wary of doing anything ahead of next week’s Supreme Court hearings that could be read as trying to influence the justices. The White House fears that even if events were tied to the second anniversary, they would be framed by the media as related to the court hearings, where the individual mandate to buy insurance—the heart of the law—is being challenged.