Some lefties are crowing about a new poll showing public support for Obamacare ticking up above water (barely) at 43/42. This has touched off another round of "winning streak!" and "it's working!" high-fiving. A few points: (1) The Kaiser survey's result is an outlier. The national average of polls, aggregated by RealClearPolitics, still shows disapproval outpacing approval of the law by about ten points. Yes, this gap is less pronounced than the worst days of the roll-out debacle (Obamacare has by and large faded from headlines recently, which probably helps it), but overall public opposition has been remarkably consistent:
Since 2015 began, most public polling shows Obamacare underwater by 7 to 14 points. Fox News (-20) and now Kaiser (+1) are exceptions.
(2) It's worth remembering that Obamacare fans had another triumphant moment over a Washington Post/ABC News poll last year. It turned out to be a blip, not a trend.
(3) Even in these Obamacare-favorable numbers from Kaiser, more respondents say they've been directly harmed by the law than directly helped. This gap is smaller than we've seen in other polling -- unsurprising, given the apparent outlier status of this survey -- but it's still there. The majority of Americans say they haven't been personally impacted by Obamacare…yet…although that group probably includes many people like me whose healthcare arrangements have remained basically the same for now, but with higher costs.
(4) The latest out of California:
California’s health insurance exchange, established under the Affordable Care Act, has been held out as a national model for Obamacare. In some ways—not all of them good—it is. Whether it’s falling far short of 2015 enrollment goals or sending out 100,000 inaccurate tax forms, Covered California is struggling with its share of challenges. Now, several senior-level officials integral to the launch of Covered California—who enthusiastically support the Affordable Care Act—are speaking about what they view as gross incompetence and mismanagement involving some of the $1 billion federal tax dollars poured into the state effort...Covered California finds itself now grappling with a big disappointment: low enrollment growth. California ranked near the bottom in overall growth, with a scant 1 percent increase over last year. “It’s a tiny fraction of the growth they were expecting,” says an official who helped implement the Affordable Care Act and examined California’s numbers. As recently as last fall, the official says, California hoped to increase enrollment by 500,000 this year. But only an additional 7,098 have “selected a plan” for 2015. “Their total enrollment is a step in the right direction but nowhere near what anyone thought it would be for the largest state in the country.” Covered California would not answer our questions about enrollment figures. Another telling statistic is Covered California’s poor retention rate. Even though people are required by law to have health insurance, only 65 percent of Covered California’s 2014 customers reenrolled in 2015. The rest dropped off. Covered California would not address our questions about lackluster retention and growth.
Inept and transparent. Click through for additional quotes from Covered California whistleblowers, describing the dysfunction. Obamacare: It's not "proving its critics wrong," it's not fulfilling its promises, and it's not popular.