Analyst says economy may trump health care in November

Jun 28, 2012

Every Thursday we look at Michigan politics with Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

In what some are calling a surprising decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Michigan lawmakers were reacting to the decision throughout the day. Governor Snyder said he doesn’t like the law but he is going to try to follow it.

Republicans in the legislature, including Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, have been very vocal in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act and this ruling doesn’t change that, so what’s next for them?

Sikkema said, "Republicans are simply still dead set against this, and they are going to campaign against it and if they do take the majority in the Congress, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency they will repeal it, they've already said that. So this continues to be extremely divisive and Republicans at the state level begrudgingly will probably implement it, but they will resist it at every step of the turn."

Sikkema added that this issue is very different than the debate over Medicare and Medicaid many years ago.

"Medicare and Medicaid was passed in 1965, and at the time almost half of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate and Congress supported it. That's not true for the Affordable Care Act, no Republicans in the Senate or House supported it two years ago. So it continues to be a very partisan, very divisive. And I think it's going to take a number of years and Democrats electoral victories for this to settle in," Sikkema said.

What kind of impact will this have on Michiganders, and potentially on how they'll vote in November?

"I think it's way too soon to say how much of a factor this will to be in the election. I still think the economy is going to be much more important than a Supreme Court decision," said Demas.

Sikkema said, "I think this is a double-edged sword for Republicans. It helps to energize the base for the November election because they are going to be extremely agitated, but independent voters might say let's put this debate behind us, it's been settled, let's move on."