Short Takes On News & Events

Troubled Health Law Rollout Damages Public Support

By Jordan Rau

November 22nd, 2013, 5:20 AM


With its troubled rollout of the new insurance marketplaces, the Obama administration has achieved something Republicans have failed to do: seriously dent the popularity of the health care law, according to poll released Friday.

Nearly half of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of the law and only a third like it, according to the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. (KHN is an editorially independent part of the foundation.)  The 16-percentage point gap between positive and negative views is almost the largest it has been since the foundation began its monthly tracking poll in April 2010. The only time the gap was bigger was in October 2011, when the Republican presidential candidates, gearing up for the primary season,  were taking turns bashing the law.

Support among Democrats plunged from 70 percent last month to 55 percent. Women, who were split over the merits of the law month, have turned against it, with views mirroring the overall public view this month. While most people don’t think it will affect them one way or the other, 43 percent of the public now says the law is going to leave the country worse off, while 34 percent think it will be an improvement.

With 49 percent of people opposing the law and 33 percent favoring it, the Kaiser poll results are broadly similar to those reported earlier this month by other organizations. A Washington Post-ABC poll found a 57 percent majority against the law, with 40 percent favoring it. Gallup found that 55 percent of people disapprove of the law while 40 percent like it.  Gallup found the most popular criticisms were that the law was “government interference” and “forcing people to do things.” Gallup also found that a minority of the public believes it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have health coverage.

The drop in support comes as more people are paying attention, particularly to the insurance marketplaces that opened Oct. 1. According to the Kaiser poll, more than half of the public say they have followed news about the healthcare.gov website problems. The same portion say they are hearing tales of anecdotal complaints from people unhappy that their individual health policies have been canceled as insurers move to adopt the law’s more rigorous requirements.

The public is suspicious about news coverage of the law. While 40 percent say it’s been mostly balanced, 33 percent believe coverage has tilted against the law and 17 percent believe it’s been too favorable.

People without health insurance now are more likely to say they have not heard much about the marketplaces than those with health coverage. Nearly six in 10 of the uninsured say they plan to obtain coverage next year, while a third say they will refuse.

The pollsters offered one hopeful comparison for supporters of the law, noting that the Medicare “Part D” prescription drug benefit was also unpopular when it started in 2006, but now is viewed positively. Support of the drug benefit has grown from just 28 percent at the end of 2005 to 63 percent this month.

“Of course, it is far too early to tell what will happen to public opinion on the ACA as it moves through the next phase of implementation, but the Medicare Part D experience suggests that it is not unusual for a new law of this sort to be poorly perceived at the outset,” the pollsters wrote.

The poll was conducted by phone Nov. 13 through Nov. 18 among 1,204 adults. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points, with larger margins for subgroups.

jrau@kff.org

14 Responses to “Troubled Health Law Rollout Damages Public Support”

  1. stan says:

    The same way right-wing extremist Republicans in the 1930′s criticized the Social Security roll-out as a sure sign that the program will fail, the same way right-wing extremist Republicans in the 1960′s criticized the Medicare and Medicaid roll-out as a sure sign that those programs will fail, the same way right-wing extremist Republicans in 2006 criticized the Romneycare roll-out as a sure sign that the program will fail, is the exact same thing we are seeing today regarding Obamacare. The bottom line, if you listen to Republicans, you are stupid. Republicans will “always” be on the wrong side of history. Every past program mentioned above has been successful beyond anyone’s expectations. Obamacare will be no different. Society will be better as a result of Obamacare.

  2. Dan says:

    If you don’t listen to both sides of an argument you are “stupid”. If you don’t believe half the country having an unfavorable opinion of a law is pause for concern, you are “stupid”. If you want to generalize and group all Americans either into the extreme right camp or the extreme left camp, you are “stupid”. If your go-to defense for any argument is an ad hominem attack or the use of the word “stupid” you are in fact….stupid.

  3. stan says:

    I you ignore history…you are not just stupid…you are a complete moron!

  4. Dan says:

    “The mania for giving the Government power to meddle with the private affairs of cities or citizens is likely to cause endless trouble, through the rivaly of schools and creeds that are anxious to obtain official recognition, and there is great danger that our people will lose our independence of thought and action which is the cause of much of our greatness, and sink into the helplessness of the Frenchman or German who expects his government to feed him when hungry, clothe him when naked, to prescribe when his child may be born and when he may die, and, in fine, to regulate every act of humanity from the cradle to the tomb, including the manner in which he may seek future admission to paradise.” – Mark Twain
    Keep waving your pom poms though, its endearing.

  5. Lena Coonway, Group Insurance Underwriter says:

    People are quick to react when things they want or expect didn’t turn out the way they expected. We are a society of me-first, want-it-now or else, and various types of envy whenever other people have what they don’t have. We resent any suggestion for patience and seeing things through. We become so self-centered that we forget to have common sense. The rollout problems are frustrating but to condemn it so quickly is just partisan politics. This kind of thing happens in the business world albeit in the private sector, immediate action and correction are required. In the government, everything has to go through every committee. It’s just the way things work. Stop trying to minimize the importance of the ACA which will guarantee all to have health insurance. We all need it to be in place so health care is affordable and guaranteed with no pre-existing exclusions. So calm down and stop blaming the Administration and attacking the President. In time, the hypocrites who complained the loudest will be benefited by this law. And then they’ll keep quiet and forgot about Obama who fought for it.

  6. Dan says:

    This kind of thing doesn’t happen in the private sector, and if it did that company wouldn’t be in business very long and the people responsible would have been fired for gross incompetence. And the ACA does not “guarantee all to have health insurance” there will still be about 30 million people in this country not insured after full implementation, not even counting the states that have chosen to opt out of the Medicaid expansion (which I don’t agree with, they should take the money). Who is minimizing the importance of the ACA? Me? Or is it the administration that didn’t think it was important enought to test the website? The administration that blatantly and intentionally lied when it told people they could keep their current plans? Please, your bias effects your ability to see clearly.

  7. stan says:

    Mark Twain? Oh, you mean Samuel Langhorne Clemens, right? A man who, for some strange reason, never wanted to use his real name. So, we should base the wisdom of the ages on a man who has absolutely no educational credentials whatsoever except for calling himself a writer and a lecturer. In his day, there were many such individuals selling snake oil and spinning yarns. Mark Twain…nothing but a scam artist!

  8. stan says:

    Oh Stan, I hear Ted, Mike and Rand are having a party. Would you care for another cup-o-tea?

  9. stan says:

    Don’t mind if I do!

  10. Dan says:

    Haha, that’s cute, yeah Oxford University gave him a Doctor of Letters degree because he was selling snake oil. Stanley my man, you don’t want to hear anything other than the sound of your own voice. Carry on. But since you would like to hate on Mr. Clemens, in honor of today here is another quote:
    “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy

  11. Will says:

    Let’s be clear…

    To be sure, Sam Clemens received an “Honorary” Doctorate of Letters. To show you how prestigious these kinds of degrees really are, even an infamous Vietnam draft dodger like Dick Cheney received an “Honorary” Doctorate of Public Service from BYU. Show me an open box of cereal and I’ll show you an Honorary Doctorate in whatever.

  12. Jack says:

    It’s common knowledge that Honorary Doctorates are awarded for two reasons…

    1. As fund raisers that are usually held by invitation only requiring a large contribution to the university to attend. Attendees usually get a photo op with the honoree depending on the size of their contribution.

    2. Honorary Doctorates are literally purchased by the honoree, usually to boost his/her very dismal legacy.

  13. Jack says:

    By the way, as troubled as the Obamacare rollout has been, Republicans will need to win the Oval Office to repeal it. Any signature by a President to repeal Obamacare can’t happen until at least January of 2017 and only if that President is a Republican. My guess is, the next President will be Hillary. Besides, by that time, most currently uninsured Americans will be insured for the first time in their lives. If you think those very happily insured Americans will be willing to give that privilege up, you’d better think again! Pigs will fly before that happens!

  14. Susan says:

    I’m single and in my late thirties. I work for a florist. I’m a driver. There are four full time and three part time employees. Our employer provides no benefits of any kind. Nobody earns more than $12 per hour. We share any tips that we get. Some of the employees have families. They never could afford health insurance. They just pray that their kids stay healthy. It’s sad. All of us have signed up for health insurance on the health exchange. For the first time, we all can afford it. Nobody cares about how troubled the rollout has been. All we care about is getting to see a doctor. Seeing a doctor is something none of us have done in many years. Once we have insurance, Republicans had better not repeal it. We have waited far too long to have it taken away just for political reasons. My Congressman is a Republican. His office is just around the corner from our shoppe. I have visited with his staff regularly to tell them how happy I am to be getting health insurance for the first time in my life. His staff know how I feel about repeal. If my Congressman keeps voting for repeal, he will lose my support. We all need to make Congress aware that America needs Obamacare. If Republicans take it away, we will vote them out!

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