When CNN released its Obamacare poll in March, they were pretty excited about the law's "rebound." And by "rebound," they meant, "still underwater by 18 points, with approval south of 40 percent." The news organization has now published its latest national survey on the issue, and the results are...different. Not because of any big rebound or collapse, but because it appears that CNN has stopped asking the binary approve/disapprove question altogether. The new poll does, however, pose three questions pertaining to the healthcare law. The first asks whether Obamacare should be left intact, changed, or repealed. A whopping twelve percent of respondents favor keeping the law as-is, which is position outlined in Congressional Democrats' current budget proposal. Eighty-seven percent want to see the law changed or abolished. Unsurprisingly, CNN grouped the "keep" and "change" responses together, fueling the lefty narrative that the GOP position losing. But that template would only make sense if the law were generally popular. Polling has consistently shown that it most certainly is not, on both a national scale, and in critical swing states. It makes even less sense when the "fix it, don't nix it" message failed in a bellwether race decided earlier this year. As I've argued repeatedly, the "change" cohort entails large swaths of Americans who would support unraveling core components of the law like the highly unpopular individual mandate tax. David Freddoso makes a similar point: "even if only the most unpopular parts of the law are “changed,” it becomes a repeal in practical terms. Congress could easily grab the low-hanging fruit by repealing the individual mandate and the tax hikes, then loosen coverage requirements, and at that point, what’s even left except state Medicaid expansions?" On the second question, "fail" outpaces "success" by a margin of more than three-to-one, with independents breaking five-to-one in that direction:
And on this vague-to-the-point-of-useless question, public trust that Obamacare's problems will eventually be resolved has eroded slightly since the height of the roll-out meltdown:
Some in the press continue to blindly tap away at their keyboards, imparting such pearls of wisdom as, "the White House [is riding] a wave of good news" about Obamacare. They want to believe the "winning streak" storyline so badly that they're willing to turn a blind eye to manifestly bad realities. Speaking of which, Virginia insurers have begun to preview their premium increases for 2015. The Wall Street Journal report emphasizes that the hikes will be lower than some predictions, but I'll let you judge whether consumers have anything to celebrate:
In the first look at how insurers plan to adjust prices in the second year under the federal health-care law, filings from Virginia carriers show they are opting for premium increases in 2015 that will pinch consumers' pocketbooks but fall short of some bigger rate predictions. The new premium proposals, detailed in official filings to the state's insurance regulator, show health plans all opting for some increases. The filings show insurers' planned increases easily outpacing broader U.S. inflation, but shy of the much larger boosts some critics predicted. For instance, the Anthem HealthKeepers Inc. plan offered by a unit of WellPoint said it would raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across its individual plans in Virginia, which cover about 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to consumers...The Virginia filings show other health plans proposing rate increases ranging from 3.3% for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., with around 10,000 members in the state, to 14.9% for CareFirst BlueChoice Inc., which said it had about 32,000 members...For HealthKeepers policyholders, the impact of the 8.5% increase varies across the different individuals' plans being sold in Virginia. Some consumers could see an increase of 16.6%, while others will see their rates go up only 0.5%, the company's filing says.
So all Virginia exchange health plans are seeking increases, ranging from 3.3 percent in some cases, to nearly 15 percent in others. One of the state's largest providers is looking to hike prices by an average 8.5 percent, with some customers facing a jump of close to 17 percent. Will average people receive those bills and think to themselves, "wow, some pundits predicted higher increases, so this 9 percent increase for my family is pretty great"? Nope. They'll think, "Obamacare was supposed to lower my rates substantially, but they're going up again." I'll leave you with a final nugget of "winning streak" goodness from Politico:
Nearly half a billion dollars in federal money has been spent developing four state Obamacare exchanges that are now in shambles — and the final price tag for salvaging them may go sharply higher. Each of the states — Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada and Maryland — embraced Obamacare, and each underperformed. All have come under scathing criticism and now face months of uncertainty as they rush to rebuild their systems or transition to the federal exchange. The federal government is caught between writing still more exorbitant checks to give them a second chance at creating viable exchanges of their own or, for a lesser although not inexpensive sum, adding still more states to HealthCare.gov...The $474 million spent by these four states includes the cost that officials have publicly detailed to date. It climbs further if states like Minnesota and Hawaii, which have suffered similarly dysfunctional exchanges, are added.
Phil Kerpen cites data to advance a compelling case that the total amount of flushed money is actually quite a bit higher.