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How A Bill Becomes A Law.

by Stuart Shapiro

Many of us learned this during Saturday morning commercials when we were kids (see video below).  But apparently at least 22% (and possibly 48%) did not.  According to a new tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 22% believe that the Affordable Care Act has been repealed and another 26% are not sure. This isn’t lost on Kaiser President Drew Altman.

No matter how this plays out, we might need a new installment of “Schoolhouse Rock” to explain the legislative process a little better to the public.  As a part time pollster I should not be too surprised by these results, but as someone who once taught a course called “The Policymaking Process” in a political science department at a major university, it is a little jarring to learn that almost half the American people do not know the difference between a symbolic repeal vote in the House and the actual repeal of the law.

Altman goes on to note that repeal is far from reality while Democrats control the Senate and the White House.  Maybe these folks will understand when Republicans run against the law again in 2012.  Of course first they will have to explain how the Republicans in the House didn’t actually overturn the law.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.


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