Video: CBS poll shows more Americans than ever want ObamaCare repealed

posted at 2:41 pm on July 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Two more polls on ObamaCare show that Americans largely don’t believe it will work, and more people than ever want it repealed. First, a new CBS poll shows that a solid majority disapproves of ObamaCare by eighteen points, and that support for repeal is on the rise:

A new CBS News poll finds more Americans than ever want the Affordable Care Act repealed.

According to the poll, 36 percent of Americans want Congress to expand or keep the health care law while 39 percent want Congress to repeal it – the highest percentage seen in CBS News polls. The poll also found a majority of Americans – 54 percent – disapprove of the health care law, 36 percent of Americans approve of it and 10 percent said they don’t know about it.

The health care law is a chronic issue for the White House, CBS News political director John Dickerson said on “CBS This Morning.” “There’s an operational part to this, which is that the White House has got to get people to sign up for these health exchanges, particularly younger, healthier Americans, and so they are tactically running a campaign much like the presidential campaign, reaching out, using the techniques of that campaign to get younger people to sign up for these health exchanges.”

The White House has two problems with that scenario. First, younger people don’t need expensive comprehensive health insurance, as they tend to be healthier and require less access to health care than older Americans. ObamaCare is structured to use that low-access rate to shift wealth in order to essentially subsidize the costs of mandatory coverage for pre-Medicare older Americans. Second, the penalty for non-compliance is far less than the cost of buying the insurance — especially since ObamaCare forces insurers to cover despite pre-existing conditions. Under those circumstances, it makes a lot more sense to pay a fine and just buy the comprehensive insurance when an illness or injury makes it necessary.

National Journal’s new poll finds Americans skeptical that the scheme will work at all — except for the poor. Confidence in the ObamaCare structure has significantly declined as the structural problems of implementation have come to light as the deadlines approach:

After all those developments, just 35 percent of those surveyed in the new poll said they believed the law will benefit “people like you or your family,” while 46 percent expected it would make things worse for them. That’s a decline from last September, when 43 percent expected improvement and 40 percent anticipated harm.

Two other measures found even greater slippage. Just 36 percent of those surveyed say the law will “make things better” for the middle class, while 49 percent say they expect it will “make things worse.” That’s another steep decline from September, when 45 percent said it would help, and 40 percent said it would hurt, the middle-class.

Likewise, the share of adults who say the law will benefit the country overall fell by a comparable amount. Last September, a 50-percent-to-39-percent majority thought the law would make things better, rather than worse, for the nation overall. But in the new poll those numbers have almost reversed: Just 41 percent expect benefits for the country, while a 48 percent plurality believe the law will make things worse. …

Ominously for the White House, the survey found that hesitation is widespread even among the portions of the white community usually most receptive to Democrats. Only about one-third of whites ages 18-34 said they believed the law would benefit the middle class, the country, or their own families. Similarly just 29 percent of college-educated white women thought the law would personally benefit them and only 35 percent thought it would help the middle class—though 44 percent thought it would help the country overall (compared with 48 percent who thought the law would hurt it.) College-educated white men also expressed doubt about its impact on the middle class and their own family, but a narrow plurality thought it would help the country overall.

Earlier this month, the White House highlighted the gains made in New York through implementation of the law.  The Wall Street Journal points out, though, that the improvement came because existing state law on health insurance was even worse than ObamaCare. And New York had the exact same experience with must-issue regulations that we will shortly see with younger Americans as this unfolds:

The real news is that New York ruined its individual insurance market two decades ago by imposing the same regulations that ObamaCare is about to impose on every other state. If the Empire State’s premiums do now fall, it will be because the Affordable Care Act partially deregulates New York insurance.

The culprit behind New York’s long-standing insurance woes is a regulation known as “community rating” that hides in higher premiums the income transfers from one group to another. Insurance works best when people pay rates that are tied to their expected health risks over time. But a few states limit how much premiums can vary from person to person.

ObamaCare takes this community rating national. The law says that no individual can pay more than three times what the least expensive person pays, regardless of risk. Today 42 states have rating bands that are five to one or more.

New York’s ratio is one to one. This means that insurers must vastly overprice coverage for, say, a 28-year-old who exercises regularly and doesn’t smoke but vastly underprice coverage for a 55-year-old with high-cost chronic illnesses. Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo adopted this rule in 1992.

Premiums shot up 30% to 40% on average in the first year, often much more, and continued to spike. Insurers shed books of business, while customers cancelled their policies. Enrollment fell 38% in three years. About a dozen major insurers at the time sold the dominant style of indemnity coverage, similar to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. By 1996, every one had fled the state.

Bad incentives caused the exodus. The majority of people under 65 with low risks can avoid community rating’s economic distortions by not buying coverage, especially because another rule called “guaranteed issue” lets them wait until they are sick before they buy coverage.

In other words, it’s only an improvement because ObamaCare forces a slightly more rational premium ratio than Cuomo imposed twenty years ago.  That makes the redistribution of wealth from younger and poorer entrants to those older and wealtheir only marginally less reprehensible in theory, but the outcome will probably be similar in practice anyway.

CBS’ crew discusses the results of the poll, as well as the enduringly bad perception of the US economy as Obama continues his windup to Deja Pivot later today.

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