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Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in At TMV, Budget, Business, Economy, Health, Law, Media, Politics, Society | 15 comments

The Truth: ‘Americans Love Obamacare’


OK, that headline at the Los Angeles Times might be an overstatement.

How about Americans like Obamacare?

Would you accept Americans like the Affordable Care Act?

While the LA Times maintains that the (honest) truth is: “The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey,” I would settle for the latter, “Americans like the Affordable Care Act.” This, in my opinion, is beginning to become clear as the health care exchange sites are being overwhelmed by those seeking to apply for health care insurance and, to a lesser extent, by the more favorable reaction on the street when “Obamacare” is replaced by the “Affordable Care Act.”

More about this later.

Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times answers your “How can that [the 88% in favor of Obamacare] be, when polls regularly show a plurality of respondents with an ‘unfavorable’ view of Obamacare?” Hiltzik points to a September Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, where the difference was 43% unfavorable to 39% favorable and says:

The answer, of course, is that most Americans have no idea what’s in the law. In the Kaiser survey, 57% said they didn’t have enough information to know how it would affect them. When they’re asked how they feel about specific provisions, however, they’re almost always thunderously in favor.

Hiltzik provides the following figures from a Kaiser March 2013 poll to support his premise:

Tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance: 88% in favor.

Closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole: 81% in favor.

Extension of dependent coverage to offspring up to age 26: 76% in favor.

Expanding Medicaid: 71% in favor.

Ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions: 66% in favor.

Employer mandate: 57% in favor.

Hiltzik does admit that the “one provision that always polls negatively is the individual mandate,” something that “unfortunately” is necessary to make the elimination of preexisting conditions fiscally possible because, “Without it, you’d bankrupt every health insurer in the country, because people wouldn’t enroll until they’re sick.”

The only possible reason for the alleged unpopularity of Obamacare, Hiltzik says, is “that the law’s opponents have succeeded brilliantly in marketing ‘Obamacare’ as something it’s not, and its defenders have failed miserably at communicating what it is.”

I would just note the mystery results of unscientific “polls” where people asked — sometimes the same people — “like the Affordable Care Act but hate Obamacare.” Even some more scientific polls have shown similar surprising trends.

However, if one is really honest and objective about this issue, these latter results should not be at all surprising, nor mysterious.


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  • JSpencer

    Exactly right Dorian. My own belief is that the more Americans learn about the realities of the ACA the more they are going to like it – and this means they won’t want anyone to take it away again. Eventually the disinformation campaigns will fade away because they will have lost. Reality trumps crazy spin.

  • Rambie

    That is why the GOP is fighting so hard now, they know that’ll be popular.

  • SteveK

    Thanks Dorian, Exactly right as JSpencer says… Anyone wanting information on how it will affect you personally all you need do is go to the ACA website: It’s easy to navigate and it will answer questions regarding your specific situation and what options you have, I think you be pleasantly surprised… Especially the doubters.

    Edit to add: Rambie hit the nail on the head… The GOP does know it will be popular and with a few minor tweak’s it will work well too.

  • dduck

    How about: Americans hope ACA will eventually work well.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “How about: ‘Americans hope ACA will eventually work well.'”

    I’ll buy that, dduck.

  • Rambie

    Well, it’d get working better much more quickly if the GOP would work to improve it instead of trying to dismantle it.

  • cjjack

    A friend of mine – who is a reliable conservative – wrote a long post on his Facebook page today explaining why he now supports the Affordable Care Act. For the last year, he’s been struggling to find health care coverage for his wife, who has the dreaded “preexisting conditions.”

    Nothing serious, but enough to make it difficult to get covered. Yesterday he went on the exchange and found a plan they can afford which will get her what she needs.

    I chimed in, because I’ve also benefited from the law. My daughter – who also has “preexisting” conditions, would presently be uninsured and all but unable to get insured had the provision of the law which allows children to stay on their parents’ plan a few years longer not been put into place.

    Someone else jumped on to say that they couldn’t wait to sign up for insurance, as they’d been denied for…you guessed it…a “preexisting condition.”

    Then something odd happened. Or rather, didn’t happen.

    Often when you talk politics on the Facebook, there are people more than happy to tell you just how wrong you are about the topic at hand. That didn’t happen. I think it had something to do with the fact that there were people saying “Obamacare has already helped me in the following ways…” and that’s much harder to argue against.

    So far, the law has helped a whole lot of parents like me, whose young adult children would be otherwise uninsured. By all accounts, a few million people logged onto the exchanges in the past couple of days. If their experiences were anything like my friend’s, then the GOP may have their worst fears realized:

    People might find that they like Obamacare after all.

  • slamfu

    One of the guys I work with was in a similar spot. His pre-existing condition? He gave a kidney to his mom. Apparently that makes it REALLY tough and REALLY expensive to get insurance. He is also a big fan of he new rules.

  • petew


    This is what so many of us have known all along—Americans say they are opposed to Obamacare, because they have been told, for too long and too hard, that the law is dangerously full of provisions which will destroy their financial stability.

    Many Americans also know so little about the ACA in general, that they think Obamacare must be something different. I think Jimmy kimmel interviewed people on the street and asked which of the two (Obamacare or the ACA) was their preferred legislation. Laughingly, many of them despised the former while accepting the latter. This example shows just how much simple language can be misused, in order to discredit something that is still new and still largely,misunderstood.

    There are still a lot of myths and scare tactics aimed at consumers and generally, we have been given so much false info, that many of us are ready to believe the worst. After all, if there were not SOMETHING wrong with Obamacare, why then, would so many Republican Congressmen repeat and repeat the same talking points that warn Americans about the new healthcare law, as if it were the Plague, rather than offering their honest critiques.

    Such talking points are used over and over again simply because their creators are masters of propaganda and, eventually, people may learn to believe them!

    We all know that many politicians commit gaffes or make misstatements that bode nothing good but intense criticisms from the public in that regard, I am willing to believe that Mitt’s gaffe about “liking to fire people,” was intended as a philosophical statements about how he thought businesses should be run—for the good of Wall Street and the public good as a whole—especially when companies that are losing money are continuously being dissolved and reinvented. But, No intelligent man running for President, would openly state that he liked firing people in and of itself. Such people are simply too intelligent and educated, to make such blatantly ignorant statements—while simultaneously trying to win the public’s much lauded approval. Likewise, Nancy Pelosi’s confusing public statements—in which she claimed that the ACA wouldn’t be understood until it was finally passed and enacted into law, and is then understood as a real and true improvement in health care. Apparently a similar kind of gaffe—in which, detractors intend to profit because little useful info is known about the bill, is also very questionable.

    But in the end, Nancy will be right—the millions of server overloading hits, that the online health exchanges are reeling from, obviously represent a powerful response, judging from the vast number of Americans who are interested in positive changes. This new insurance is truly valuable and, offers America’s middle and lower classes the continued ability to benefit from the affordable care Act that many have already been given. Now that the law is in the process of being fully implemented, we ARE going to really understand it much better for the first time in many years. And, Just because the facts themselves cannot be challenged by any dirty little lies from the Tea Party which will no longer be able to manipulate the public’s opinons–that is no reason not to give the new health care law a chance!

    the President knows that time is on his and his parties side, and that is why the GOP is so hysterically involved in “obstructing the normal function of government” by using every trick in the book to defund the ACA! So, although many of the Chicago protesters during the Democratic Convention of 1968, were hauled off for impeding normal government functions were tossed into jail because of their offenses, when Tea Party fed Republican have the gall to carry out essentially the same crime, (but an even more disruptive and harmful kind)they are untouchable because they actually have some power. And if they were forcefully arrested, this would only provide further truth about the way Obama’s administration is persecuting “true patriots like them! But LOL with that. voters are beginning to see the wolf that is hiding beneath its self-righteous sheep’s clothing. It is a crying sin when such things take root in a previously Iconic democracy like America!

  • dduck

    I agree that since it is here, we should try to fix it since it is impossible to get rid of it with the current government status. So, the Reps are wrong on this for whatever reason and are following a self destructive path. Knocking out the unpopular medical device tax, which has high bipartisan support in the Senate would be a good start and increasing the amount of hours from 30 to 35-40 would cause less distortion in the labor market. If possible, increasing the fine for the individual mandate/fine should force many healthier people into the pool. Right now the surge to sign up is probably highly tilted towards the less healthy. And so on. Obama can try to break the ice barrier by suggesting to drop the device tax and the Reps could agree to a short delay (1-3 months) until some of the glitches are smoothed out. This pissing contest must end regardless of whomever thinks they have the moral or legal high ground. Dream on.
    BTW: a BIG problem is that there are fewer primary care physicians now and into the future. Who is going to see all the current people and the added ones?

  • DaGoat

    Those seem like common sense suggestions, dduck.

    There are some major things about the ACA I don’t like, but at this point the process is too far along to pull the plug. Immediately after the Supreme Court ruling the entire health care industry starting gearing up for the ACA, and to suddenly stop it will cause significant disruption and harm. As I’ve said in prior posts the toothpaste is out of the tube and you can’t just put it back in.

    The primary care issue is a big problem and the ACA does not address it very well. The trouble is that specialties flat out pay better. That is true for physicians, NP’s and PA’s. ACA does address that a little bit but is like putting a band-aid on a torn artery.

    What you will hear from medical schools is a lot of trumpeting about how many of their graduates are going into primary care residencies. Much of that is BS because the majority of the graduates are going into something like internal medicine or pediatric residencies with the aim of then going into a sub-specialty or fellowship. In other words for many the primary care residency is just a stop on the way into a specialty.

  • KP

    for many the primary care residency is just a stop on the way into a specialty.

    That is what I am hearing from physicians and students currently in medical school. It will come down to this: having insurance doesn’t mean you always have access to medical care.

    The necessarily high deductibles will mean many people will still pay out of pocket or avoid seeing a doctor. As well, millions and millions will remain uninsured.

    On the very good side, pre-existing conditions will be covered (like others mentioned above about family and friends, my daughter is a cancer survivor) and catastrophic medical care coverage will do something about preventing families from being bankrupted. I am sure that offers some peace of mind to many.

  • petew

    For sure, the lack of primary care doctors is a real problem and one that has existed for many years before the ACA legislation came along. This is a very good issue where Democrats and Republicans might try to promote ways to motivate doctors of the future to go into general practice—while actually sitting down and discussing the ways to make more med students become GPs. No doubt the money that would potentially be earned would play a big part, as well as educational and financial incentives that might steer more Doctors into pursuing family practices–although money is definitely not the only motive that future doctors consider before agreeing to eight costly years of education. There are probably many who have altruism primarily in mind.

    I agree with dduck, that there are going to be many problems, which will require some amount of bipartisan cooperation, but, I don’t really see where Obama should share any part of the blame for this recent assault of the procedural rules of Congress and the attempt to discredit the status of bona fide laws that are passed by congress and legitimized by the Supreme court.

    Obama’s position is really only one of respecting and supporting the normal functions of Congress and asserting that they should be allowed to continue on unhindered—he has taken no uncalled for actions that have attributed to this rotten mess. And, although Democrats passed the ACA without Republican votes, there is no rule in existence which prohibits a bill being passed without bipartisan support. Such support might be desired, but it is just not permissible as a reason to declare outright war on Obama the ACA, and Congress itself!

    An example of how misguided this form of reasoning really is, might be illustrated by a hypothetical example in which a Republican President vetoes a law which has great Democratic support—but not the two thirds required to override his veto. Should angry Democrats then decide to force a government shutdown by refusing to recognize the Presidents own veto power—apparently until he grants a number of their arbitrary demands without exception?

    I see the denial of a completely valid law and the attempt to use a partisan dislike of that law, in order to rewrite the ways that we adopt and repeal laws, to be absolutely and completely as outrageous as the hypothetical example used above. whether Republicans trust him or not, Obama has indicated for a long time that he is willing to consult with them concerning ways that the law can be improved—but by using the normal procedural rules established by Congress—not government shutdowns or debt ceiling power plays that can cause serious damage to our economy! Congressmen don’t get the right to make up the rules as they go along, and, I would not expect any President—Republican or Democrat—to give in to such one sided demands.

    Yes, the law is not going away, but its supporters have always agreed that it will require many tweaks before operating as it is supposed to.
    And, there is ample room to debate many of its provisions in real and open session of Congress—only not with a ransom demand or a gun held to our Congressman’s heads.

    How can the President be expected not to point out the blatant flaws in the GOP’s strategy? How would they expect his to comply—by giving in to their demands? would we expect Republicans to do the same in a similar situation? And if Obama yields only once to even a minor demand, how can this surrender be done, without legitimizing these same kind of mafia tactics in the future? Is the tea party expected to play it straight after forcing its will on any issue at all?—especially those which require using political coercion to succeed? And, should the rest of us say, “Of course my friend! why am I not trusting you?”

    The tea party is a seriously flawed and almost criminal organization. The only way to defeat them is by refusing all of their ultimatums and demands. The president did nothing to create this monstrosity—except possibly by insisting that it shouldn’t be happening at all!

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Replying to the comment on this piece at another blog, “We do not Love, Like nor want Obamacare!!!! Not sure who the 88% were but EVERYONE I know feels the same way as I.” another reader responded:

    I think you’re proving the point of the article. You don’t like the name Obamacare, but don’t appear to know what’s actually in it.

    So, are you in favor of insurance companies being able to collect payments from people for years, then throw them out as soon as they need expensive care? Do you think that it’s good for people to be unable to switch jobs without losing healthcare due to a “pre-existing condition”? Do you think it’s good for insurance companies to cap lifetime payments, so that people who are stuck by expensive diseases can die cheaply, this not cutting into insurance company’s record profits? And do you think it’s a great idea that people are shut out of healthcare if they’re unemployed or unlucky enough to work for an employer that doesn’t provide healthcare benefits? Do you think it’s a great system that has the US pay 2x as much as other countries for healthcare, yet provide third-world outcomes? Yeah, let’s go back to that.

    I believe the second reader pretty much nailed it.

  • KP

    DDW, he nailed it.

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