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Obamacare's PR Free Fall Challenges Both Sides


At the beginning of the month, we noted that the botched Obamacare rollout hadn’t yet started to make the law unpopular. That’s no longer the case, to put it gently. The most recent Quinnipiac poll is full of stark numbers for the Obama administration. For starters, 55 percent of respondents now oppose Obamacare, compared to 44 percent in late October. But there’s even worse news for the White House:

American voters disapprove 54 – 39 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, his lowest approval rating in any Quinnipiac University national poll since he became president…For the first time today, American voters say 52 – 44 percent that Obama is not honest and trustworthy….Only 19 percent of American voters say the quality of care they and their families receive will improve in the next year because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 43 percent say it will get worse and 33 percent say ACA won’t affect their health care. Voters also support 73 – 20 percent extending the March 31, 2014 deadline for signing up for coverage without facing a penalty.

Opponents of the law are no doubt popping the champagne at these numbers, especially because “fixes” like delaying the mandate will actually contribute to the death spiral threatening the ACA.  These poll results spell disaster for Obama and the ACA.

But these numbers also point to challenges that any health reform would face. As people on all sides of the Obamacare debate have pointed out, there is really no possible reform that wouldn’t disrupt the health care market in some way. Undoubtedly, there are ways to minimize the disruption and balance the tradeoffs better than Obamacare does. But if the public is signaling that it won’t accept any health reform that kicks people off pre-existing plans, that’s a serious challenge to any attempt to fix our broken system. 

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  • Anthony

    “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan…It was an irresponsible promise, a cowardly cave-in to focus-group findings that it was what Americans wanted to hear. But it didn’t make sense as a promise and didn’t make sense as a description of any plausible insurance reform.”

    Market insurance provision is a complex and potentially deceptive selling of health care coverage. See related material:

  • vepxistqaosani

    If it is true that we currently spend $2.7 trillion on health care for a population of 314 million, that’s $8600 per capita, or $34,400 for the ever-more-mythical family of four.

    But median household income is $52,800 or about $19,300 per capita.

    Still, _somebody’s_ got to pay the $8600 per capita — and even if we confiscate all the income of the 1%, we’ll still fall a few trillion dollars short.

    • ljgude

      Don’t know how you arrived at $8600 per capita, but it is very close to the $8508 From this per capita healthcare graph here: That is on the order of double other first world countries cost per capita.

  • Corlyss

    Wait till a few good Americans discover their data is for sale via the felons and ACORN criminals hired as navigators, a program no doubt designed less to help the perplexed find health care than to revive the fortunes of criminals exposed in the ACORN and voter registration scandals.

  • tarentius

    The “broken system” description is like “global warming”- buzz words for the leftist progressives. In fact, 85% of the American people were satisfied with their health care before Obamacare was passed. But then, the people who passed and support Obamacare think that that 85% are too stupid to know any better.

    • Fred

      They’re right. The American public is a collective drooling, mouth-breathing moron. Case in point, Obama was elected twice.

  • Bruce

    The problem isn’t that people need to get new policies. It’s that the new ones are 40% higher in cost. Furthermore, there are ways to do this without requiring 60 year old men to pay for birth control.

  • ljgude

    Some of my lefty friends here in Australia say that the American people wont give up universal health care now that they have it. That was true in Australia when the Conservative party (called Liberals) eliminated the universal healthcare enacted by the Labor party in the 70s. The conservatives were thrown out and Labor reinstated the universal medical system. But looking at what the Democrats have done in the US, I am not sure that it will work out like that. The ACA is a change to the insurance system, not government run healthcare. I don’t think at this point that there will be massive resistance to repealing it because not a lot of people will perceive it as getting free medical care. Certainly the people who chose to pay the fine wont be opposing repeal. Likewise the people who find them selves paying more and/or forced into lover levels of coverage will not be viewing this as an entitlement but a burden. I think it likely that it will get patched and ‘fixed’ but it will be difficult to get people to see it as an improvement. I know a young man was put off his parents medical insurance but was put back on under the ACA. He had some medical problems and was covered. Then the insurance company changed the rules – now it’s a $1200 deductible effectively reducing his coverage to only cover major incidents. I think that is going to be the general experience, more people will be covered but it will cost more. Of course repealing the ACA wont address the underlying problem of US healthcare costing about twice the OECD average, any more than passing it did.

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