With each passing year, people are becoming warier and warier of Obamacare. WSJ has the results of a new survey on attitudes toward the ACA conducted by Mercer. It found that only 9 percent of companies now believe Obamacare won’t raise their health care costs significantly, compared to 20 percent last year and 25 percent in 2011.
Maybe, just maybe the decline in support has something to do with the information we’ve gotten in recent weeks about the likely costs of insurance under the ACA. It’s becoming clearer every day that the rates on the California exchanges are going to be too high for many Americans, President Obama’s celebratory remarks on California’s lower-than-expected premiums notwithstanding. Even ACA supporters are now saying that the rates are too high. The LA Times reports:
“In many cases, the networks are too limited and the prices are too high in the exchange,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. “Covered California doesn’t take the place of a government agency that has the power to force justification of the rates or deny them.”
Declining support for and increased anxiety about the ACA is bad news for the President because it’s self-fulling in a way: the more the public distrusts Obamacare, the less likely it is that people will sign up for insurance—and the more likely in turn that the law will fail. But there’s perhaps an even more immediate problem for the law hitting the news today. Many insurers aren’t signing up to offer plans in the small business exchanges. Politico:
Early looks at insurance offerings on the Obamacare exchanges show that insurers aren’t exactly signing up in droves to sell on the new Small Business Health Option Program exchanges. In some states, just one insurer has signed up for the SHOP exchanges, which are supposed to foster competition and make it easier for small businesses to purchase coverage.
Supporters of the ACA argue that all of these problems are just initial quirks that will work themselves out over time. They may be right, but the longer these stories the last, the less likely they are to work out in the ACA’s favor.
How long can the American public hold its breath?