CBS poll: ObamaCare hurts more than it helps, say insured and uninsured

The uninsured continue to be almost as unimpressed by ObamaCare as the insured, according to new results released from the last CBS/New York Times poll. Majorities of both populations oppose the law, and only small minorities think it helps more than it hurts:


Skepticism about the health care law extends to both insured and uninsured Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll. Both groups disapprove of the law overall, and while the uninsured are more positive about the law’s personal impact than those with insurance, more still think the law will hurt rather than help them. CBS News and The New York Times interviewed 702 adults who do not have health insurance for this poll.

Just 15 percent of insured Americans think the health care law will help them personally, but that number rises to 33 percent among the uninsured. Still, more uninsured Americans think the health care law will hurt them (37 percent).  Thirty-two percent of insured Americans say it’ll hurt them.  Overall, 46 percent feel it will have no effect (49 percent of insured Americans, 27 percent of uninsured).

The last figure is especially interesting.  Only a quarter or so of the uninsured believe that the law will have no effect, which makes sense, since it forces them to change status whether they want to do so or not.  But more believe that it will hurt them personally (37%) than have no effect at all, by an outside-the-MOE amount, too. That undercuts the idea that the previously-uninsured will lift Democrats over the objections of the vast majority to the bill, especially when looking at the approval levels of the law in both populations:

As reported in a CBS News/New York Times Poll last week, more Americans continue to disapprove (50 percent) than approve (39 percent) of the 2010 health care law.  The intention of the Affordable Care Act may have been to help those without insurance obtain it, but Americans without health insurance (53 percent) are just as likely as those with insurance (51 percent) to disapprove of the law.  Only 38 percent of uninsured Americans approve of Obamacare; 40 percent of those with insurance approve.


ObamaCare actually performs slightly worse among the uninsured, although that is within the MOE. At least in this poll, there just isn’t much difference at all in the two populations — which is bad news for the White House and Democrats in 2014.

The only way to turn that skepticism around is to restore confidence in the administration’s implementation of ObamaCare.  They tried to do that yesterday by finally hiring someone from the applicable private-sector arena to rescue its failing web portal, Microsoft’s Kurt DelBene. But does plucking someone from Microsoft really instill confidence in the consumers needed to populate the risk pool?  In my column for The Week, I wonder:

DelBene at least has direct industry experience in information services and commercial web systems, unlike his predecessor Jeffrey Zients, a White House economics official whose private-sector experience comes in executive consultancy and venture capitalism. DelBene got public endorsements from his now-former superiors at Microsoft, founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer. “Clearly, Kurt’s technical and business skills will be invaluable in his new endeavor,” Ballmer said. Gates concurred by praising his “deep expertise as a manager and engineer” who uses “technology to solve difficult problems at scale.”

However competent DelBene might be, he still faces enormous challenges, both substantive and political. His biggest challenge might be perceptual, though. First, even with his track record at Microsoft, the question of political connections exists. DelBene’s wife Suzan won a seat in Congress last November, and was a featured candidate in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program, targeting competitive districts represented by Republicans. Is DelBene the best quarterback, or merely the best man already on the Democrats’ team? …

DelBene should surely have a better grasp of private sector velocity and effectiveness. But merely recruiting someone who worked in the private sector — or even the tech industry — is not a panacea for ObamaCare’s ills. Even though Microsoft made itself into one of the biggest American success stories of the computer age, the company does not enjoy a sterling reputation with consumers when it comes to operating systems or web applications. Windows 8, the latest OS from Microsoft, got widely panned on its initial rollout, necessitating an accelerated upgrade to fix problems that should have been caught before release — which sounds uncomfortably familiar in this context. (Full disclosure: I got the “blue screen of death” on a week-old Windows 8 ultrabook and lost all my data just three weeks ago.) Competitors such as Google Chrome and Firefox have long eclipsed its browser, Internet Explorer.


FrontPage Mag’s Daniel Greenfield also hits on DelBene’s political connections appearing at least as important as his technical expertise:

But let’s have a little more context.

DelBene’s appointment was also announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a blog posting. He starts his new job with the Obama administration later this week, a spokesman for Rep. Suzan DelBene’s office said. DelBene’s retirement as head of Microsoft’s Office division was announced in July as part of a reorganization at the software giant.

A Microsoft spokesman said DelBene’s last day at the company was Monday.

That sounds like Kurt DelBene was pushed out by Microsoft’s reorganization and his wife got him a nice new job. …

Kurt DelBene is also on the Board of Trustees of the University of Chicago, so Obama Inc. is still keeping it in the family. And how did his wife get elected? Money. She spent millions on the races, self-financing her campaign. And now her hubby gets a post-retirement government job.

Isn’t liberalism wonderful?

This administration is creating a lot more skepticism about that question every day.

Meanwhile, here’s one last data point (for this post, anyway) about competency. Even private exchanges can’t access ObamaCare data yet:

Private health insurance exchanges still are not able to directly enroll consumers in subsidized health plans offered through Obamacare even though the government has said problems doing so should have been cleared up weeks ago.

Executives from three online health exchanges that contract with both insurance companies and government agencies to enroll consumers eligible for federal subsidies in marketplace plans say the process still isn’t ready to go and that more work remains.

This despite several promises from government officials that technical fixes have been made to allow for business to be conducted on those sites, which are alternatives to the troubled website and health exchanges sites run by states.

The direct enrollment process designed by the Department of Health and Human Services would allow private marketplaces to direct consumers to a federal data hub to confirm their eligibility for government assistance, and then allow them to return to the third-party sites to enroll.


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