Confirmed: Obamacare is Hurting Democrats

Posted: Oct 31, 2014 10:35 AM

Long gone are the days of Democratic chest-thumping about "running on" Obamacare in 2014. That boast was abruptly replaced with assertions that the issue was receding from the scene and wouldn't really benefit either party.  As it turns out, candidates on one side of the aisle has been talking quite a lot about the healthcare law on the campaign trail and in ads, while the other side has been notably tight-lipped.  And now Politico finally states the obvious:

...Not only did the political benefits that Democrats thought the 2010 law would eventually bring them not materialize, opposition has only grown, according to an analysis of multiple polls taken between 2010 and last month. “There have been backlashes, but never like this,” said Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the analysis released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. That backlash doesn’t appear directed at the mechanics of the law but at its underlying core principle. Only 47 percent of Americans agree that it’s the government’s job to make sure everyone has health coverage, down from 69 percent in 2006, the analysis found. That shift is particularly pronounced among likely voters. Of those who are most likely to show up at the polls on Nov. 4, one in four believe in this principle.

Public opinion polls have consistently shown support for the law underwater by double digits, with roughly twice as many Americans claiming harm from the law than those who say it's helped them. Opposition has been so entrenched that many national polls haven't asked about it in awhile. Still, several fresh data points confirm the trend. In Marquette's Wisconsin poll, Obamacare is upside-down by 20 points (34/54), and Harvard's poll of millennials shows a 57 percent majority of young voters disapproving of the law.  The vast majority of Americans would like to see the law repealed or scaled back with significant changes.  And contra the law's ideological apologists, the bad news keeps piling up:

(1) "New challenges" will face 2015 consumers when open enrollment commences -- after the elections, by design.  As you read this New York Times assessment, keep in mind that government data suggests the "7.3 million" figure appears to be wildly exaggerated, including millions of people who were previously insured. Quote: "The 'back end' of the federal exchange, which the government uses to enroll consumers in health plans and to send subsidy payments to insurers, remains unfinished. "

(2) Access shock, via USA Today: "Now that many people finally have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, some are running into a new problem: They can't find a doctor who will take them as patients. Because these exchange plans often have lower reimbursement rates, some doctors are limiting how many new patients they take with these policies, physician groups and other experts say. 'The exchanges have become very much like Medicaid,' says Andrew Kleinman, a plastic surgeon and president of the Medical Society of the State of New York. 'Physicians who are in solo practices have to be careful to not take too many patients reimbursed at lower rates or they're not going to be in business very long.' Kleinman says his members complain rates can be 50% lower than commercial plans." Becoming like Medicaid.  Terrific.

(3) More 'transparency,' Obama style: "With health insurance marketplaces about to open for 2015 enrollment, the Obama administration has told insurance companies that it will delay requirements for them to disclose data on the number of people enrolled, the number of claims denied and the costs to consumers for specific services. For months, insurers have been asking the administration if they had to comply with two sections of the Affordable Care Act that require 'transparency in coverage.' In a bulletin sent to insurers last week, the administration said, “We do not intend to enforce the transparency requirements until we provide further guidance.” Administration officials said the government and insurers needed more time to collect and analyze the data."

(4) Rate shock for Colorado's exchange participants: "Colorado health-insurance consumers relying on tax credits will see their share of premiums rise an average of 77 percent next year if they keep the same plans, according to the state's preliminary analysis. While premiums overall are not expected to increase significantly in 2015, the way tax credits are calculated under the Affordable Care Act is creating challenges for Colorado consumers. According to an analysis done for the Colorado Division of Insurance, the average share of costs for customers receiving tax credits in 2014 was $161.79 a month. In 2015, if they keep the same plans, their average share of costs after tax credits will be $281.01."  And that's in addition to the follow-on waves of cancellation notices in the state.

I'll leave you with this RNC video, parodying these DirecTV commercials: