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Sunday, December 3, 2023
HomeOpinionWhy ObamaCare Will Remain Unpopular Despite Fudged Enrollment Numbers

Why ObamaCare Will Remain Unpopular Despite Fudged Enrollment Numbers


Despite increased yet inflated enrollment, ObamaCare is not getting any less unpopular among the American people.

The Obama administration continuously touts higher-than-expected, but utterly phony ObamaCare enrollment numbers. Yet, in most polls, Americans’ attitudes toward the healthcare law have either remained deeply negative since the 2014 open enrollment period ended or changed only marginally in a few polls, at best. On the PPD average of polls, only 39 percent approve of ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act, while 51 percent still disapprove.

According to the most recent survey by Gallup, a fairly consistent 43 percent of Americans approve of the law, while a majority continues to disapprove of it, “roughly where sentiment was before the enrollment window officially closed on March 31.”

Gallup has been slightly more favorable to the law than the median average among pollsters, and far more favorable than other recent surveys, including a poll conducted by the Associated Press, which found just 28 percent of Americans fully support the law. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found just 36 percent support compared to 46 percent opposition.

If we were to simply ignore the specific variations in the numbers, then we can see that the spread, itself  — which consistently favors the opposition — has averaged roughly 12 points over the past month. Worth noting, the spread would be worse if two polls — one from Rasmussen Reports and the other from ABC News/WaPo — didn’t find more than marginal improvements (however, later in the month both of their follow-up polls found drops in support and rising opposition returning, and we were actually forced to downgrade the ABC/WaPo poll for their poor methodologies).

So, why is it that the law remains deeply unpopular, even with the all-out assault on those cruel and cold Republicans trying to take Medicaid away from the poor?

As is typically the case with public opinion, the answer isn’t as simple as some Republican explanations have claimed, and the current gauge of public sentiment is flatly nowhere near where the Democrats’ claims suggest. The real answer is complicated, but can be broken up into a two-fold explanation, which consists of a decision-making process that is one part ideological and one part rational policy preference, or also properly referred to as practical policy preference.

Practical policy concerns and preferences influence ideology more so than the other way around, though they clearly have an impact on each other when measuring current public opinion. Simply put, the American people may like the “idea” of every American gaining health insurance, but the law itself hurts their personal situation or is perceived to inevitably hurt them in the future. And the majority would be correct in drawing that conclusion.

A study conducted by healthcare analysts at Morgan Stanley found health insurance premiums increased at the highest rate ever measured by the firm. The survey of 148 brokers concluded health insurance premiums increase under ObamaCare because of ObamaCare, blatantly stating “increases are largely due to changes under the ACA.” Further, a CBO ObamaCare report released in February projected at least 2.3 million jobs will be destroyed due to the law’s incentivizing people not to work. The latest Commerce Department report, which showed the economy contracted, also showed consumer spending increased for health care costs, but decreased in other sectors that drive economic growth.

Polling conducted by Rasmussen, who regularly tracks these concerns, and snap-shot polling from the Associated Press/Gfk and others, all have corroborated the fact that the majority of Americans have concluded that ObamaCare will hurt them.

To be sure, there is a deep and systemic anti-government-centered solution base among the American public, which whether big government liberals like it or not, is still very much a part of the American national political identity. But that presence is simply not big enough to explain the conclusive swing in the public opinion data.

A survey from Gallup found that 56 percent of adults now say that it is not the job of the federal government to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage. But that wasn’t always the case. The number of Americans who say a government-centered solution to health care is out of the question has fluctuated quite a bit, while those in favor hit the 60s in the mid 2000s during the Medicaid Part D debate. Americans have largely hated the idea of a single-payer for all outside of Medicare, but they have been open to other suggestions in the past, that is prior to ObamaCare.

The 56 percent of U.S. adults who now say it is not the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage is now a new record high. The left has really taken a beating on this issue, despite Nancy Pelosi telling “Meet the Press” that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

We can safely conclude that the consistent negative perception of ObamaCare will not only continue for the foreseeable future, but that it is likely to get much, much worse. In the latest AP poll, 59 percent of Americans say they have insurance through “job-based private insurance” coverage, while just 8 percent said they were included in the individual private market that has been directly affected by the law. The president has issued waiver after waiver to postpone the inevitable  political damage  from cancellations, but up until now it has just been a tiny slice of Americans who have actually been impacted.

When the employer mandate kicks in, all hell will break lose, which will severely damage ObamaCare in the court of public opinion. A study conducted in November by People’s Pundit Daily, prior to the numerous unilateral delays, found that 145 million Americans are currently in policies that are not eligible to be grandfathered when measured against the “Essential Health Benefit Standards” required by the law. All of the facts point to the law’s failure to accomplish what its stated purpose was, which was to cover the uninsured.

The bottom line is that Americans will be forced to pay even higher costs than they previously paid for a product that they do not necessary want, and most assuredly do not need. The vast majority of Americans believe that the nation’s heath care system will get worse under the law, they believe it will hinder economic growth.

Couple all of this with a now-infamous broken promise, along with a likely bailout of the insurance companies due to an unsustainable high risk pool, and the health care law’s worst days are yet to come.

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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