The start date for compliance with the individual mandate in ObamaCare is two weeks from tomorrow, and four in ten uninsured Americans still don’t know that the law requires them to buy a plan. Even among those in the know — or perhaps especially among the informed — the Affordable Care Act remains unpopular, and opposition is deepening in two new polls released today. The NBC/WSJ poll puts opposition in the plurality, but the trend lines are not improving for the White House:
A large number of Americans continue to adamantly oppose the nation’s new health-care law and believe it will produce damaging results, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Forty-four percent of respondents call the health-care law a bad idea, while 31 percent believe it’s a good idea — virtually unchanged from July’s NBC/WSJ survey.
By a 45 percent to 23 percent margin, Americans say it will have a negative impact on the country’s health-care system rather than a positive one.
And that’s the good news today for the Obama administration in ACA polling. A new poll from USA Today/Pew shows a majority in opposition … a growing majority. Not only do a majority oppose the bill, a narrow plurality now trusts Republicans more than Democrats on health-care policy for the first time in more than 20 years of Pew polling:
Opposition hits new highs: 53% disapprove of the health care law, the highest level since it was signed; 42% approve. By an even wider margin, intensity favors the opposition; 41% of those surveyed strongly disapprove while just 26% strongly approve. Fifty-three percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of health care policy, an historic high. And Democrats have lost their traditional advantage on the issue. For the first time in polling that stretches back more than two decades, Americans narrowly prefer Republicans in dealing with health care policy, 40%-39%.
A boost in approval for the law that followed the Supreme Court decision in July 2012 upholding most of its provisions, to 47% approve-43% disapprove, has disappeared.
Confusion continues: Only one in four say they understand the law’s impact on them and their families well while one-third say they have little or no understanding about how the law will work. Despite increasing education efforts by the administration, advocacy groups and some states, the percentage of Americans who don’t understand the law has declined only modestly, to 34% from 44%, since it was passed.
Expectations are downbeat: Most haven’t seen much impact from the law, but they are inclined to expect bad news down the road. Forty-one percent predict in coming years the effect on themselves and their families will be negative; just 25% think it will be positive. Even more, 47%, say the law will have a negative impact on the country as a whole; 35% expect a positive impact.
Even among those most likely to be boosted by ObamaCare — the uninsured — only a narrow plurality approves, 49/46. And even among those, they’re slightly more inclined to think the consequences of ObamaCare will be mostly negative (33%) than mostly positive (32%). Only 26% of the uninsured will seek coverage because of the law, although another 33% were planning on buying a plan anyway. Nearly a third won’t buy coverage regardless of the law.
McClatchy has more news relating to the intended beneficiaries of ObamaCare, and it’s not good either:
Jennifer Webb works the deli counter at Publix supermarket and has thyroid problems. Her boyfriend, William May, is an artist recovering from colon cancer.
The couple has relied on a county program that provides health coverage to the working poor. But their “security blanket,” as Webb calls the Alachua County CHOICES program, is being taken away at the end of December. As new coverage provisions take effect Jan. 1 under the Affordable Care Act, the new health care law, local programs that offered barebones care to the uninsured are in flux – and with them, the lives of thousands who depend on them.
A few programs, like CHOICES and HealthShare in northern Minnesota, are shutting down. Others, such as the Appalachian Healthcare Project in Boone, N.C., and Vita Health in Palm Beach County, Fla., are scaling back the number of people they cover. Programs in Lansing, Mich., and Houston are continuing at least for now, but their future is uncertain.
As a result, many enrollees are unsure about how – or even if – they will be able to get coverage next year and what it will cost. …
As a result, almost two-thirds of CHOICES’ enrollees will have no coverage because they earn less than the poverty level, but still too much to qualify for Medicaid. The law provides sliding scale subsidies to help people buy private insurance only if they make between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, or between $11,500 and $46,000 for an individual. Caught in the middle, they have little recourse.
The ACA pushed states to expand Medicaid by agreeing to cover the additional cost for the first few years of the program, but many states balked at the long-term costs of that expansion. That leaves these families in poverty out in the cold, starting next January.
Update: Via Gabriel Malor, make that three:
Most voters still don’t like the national health care law and expect it to increase, not reduce, health care costs.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters share at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, but 53% view it unfavorably. As has been the case since the law’s passage by Congress in March 2010, the passion remains on the side of its opponents: The new findings include 18% with a Very Favorable opinion of the law, but more than twice as many (38%) view it Very Unfavorably. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
While supporters of the law promised that it would help reduce health care costs, 54% of voters think it will make costs go up instead. Just 22% expect the law to reduce costs, while 15% predict that costs will stay about the same.