A record number of Americans now report that the Affordable Care Act has made their healthcare situation worse, according to a new Gallup poll:
[M]ore Americans than at any previous point are reporting that the law has hurt their healthcare situation. The percentage who believe their family will be hurt in the long run by Obamacare is up slightly since May. It is possible that these feelings are related to negative media attention to the law this summer; that the lack of positive news has returned sentiments to previous levels; or that they simply reflect underlying political predispositions to the law. In any case, President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement still has miles to go before a majority of the public considers it a positive.
The result reinforces polling from Pew earlier this summer, which found disapproval of the law nearing an all-time high. No matter how many times liberal partisans insist that the law has been an unabashed success, the public correctly perceives that it has fallen far short of expectations, and that the cracks are widening.
These concerns aren’t coming from nowhere. Big insurers are leaving exchanges, premium hikes keep rolling in, and competition in the healthcare sector is declining, with no end in sight. To prevent further unraveling of the U.S. healthcare system, the next administration should prioritize a new wave of health reform—this one focused on market-based innovation and cost-cutting, rather than byzantine regulations that threaten to make healthcare even more expensive and unaffordable for the middle class.