December 16, 2013
Polling reveals even worse news for Obama
The extent of the Obamacare disaster is coming into focus with a new poll by Associated Press-GfK. Democrat hopes that the much-touted "fixes" to the healthcare.gov website would begin to turn around public perceptions of Obamacare are being dashed. The real problem is that the Pottery Barn Rule ("You break it, you own it") is being applied to America's health insurance system:
The poll found a striking level of unease about the law among people who have health insurance and aren't looking for any more government help. Those are the 85 percent of Americans who the White House says don't have to be worried about the president's historic push to expand coverage for the uninsured.
In the survey, nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year - mostly for the worse. Nearly 4 in 5 (77 percent) blame the changes on the Affordable Care Act, even though the trend toward leaner coverage predates the law's passage.
Sixty-nine percent say their premiums will be going up, while 59 percent say annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.
A Harvard professor sums it up:
"Rightly or wrongly, people with private insurance looking at next year are really worried about what is going to happen," said Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who tracks public opinion on health care issues. "The website is not the whole story."
Employers trying to control their health insurance bills have been shifting costs to workers for years, but now those changes are blamed increasingly on "Obamacare" instead of the economy or insurance companies.
This is the key. In the past, health insurance companies were blamed when things went wrong. But now that the genius government crew personified by Ezekiel Emanuel has taken over, they get the blame. It used to be that Social Security was regarded as the third rail of American politics. But now we can see that grabbing hold of health care can be politically hazardous as much or more so.
Disapproval of Obama's handling of health care topped 60 percent in the poll.
Now is the time for Republicans to unify behind a market-based program involving health savings accounts and catastrophic coverage, with direct subsidies for those unable to afford an HAS initially. Several such programs exist, including one authored by Rep. Price of Georgia. Perhaps someone like Dr. Ben Carson could head a committee charged with bringing together the various extant plans, and designing a composite plan, and then presenting it to the public. Dr. Carson would make an excellent spokesman.