Republicans spent several years predicting disasters of Biblical proportions if and when the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” went into effect. Now, what many others have said about Obamacare is coming true: people are starting to warm to the law. Which means that the only Obamacare disaster that Republicans may have to seriously worry about, is what voters will have to say about Republicans who oppose it, come the next election.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that those who support the ACA now outnumber those who oppose it, for the first time since November, 2012. Opinion remains closely divided on the subject, with 43 percent now saying they view the law favorably, compared with 42 percent who hold an unfavorable view. Just one month ago, the same poll found 41 percent in favor of the law, with 43 percent opposed. While telling lies about “death panels,” rationing of care, etc., Republicans’ secret fear has always been that once people actually had experience with the law, they would approve of it. That seems to be happening.
Not surprisingly, your view of Obamacare largely depends on your political affiliation. Seventy percent of Democrats have a favorable view of the law, compared to only 16 percent of Republicans. Forty-two percent of independents view the law favorably, which could be important for Democrats, come 2016. More independents now see the law in a favorable light than at any time since late 2010.
The poll also found that the public is not buying Republican claims about steep increases in health insurance premiums. Forty-two percent of respondents said that their insurance premiums were holding steady, or dropping. Twenty-two percent said that their premiums went up “a little,” while only 24 percent said that their premiums have gone up “a lot.” A similar number, 23 percent, said that their copays and out of pocket expenses have gone up “a lot,” with the remainder of respondents saying that their expenses have increased a little, have dropped, or are holding steady.
The ACA is costing less than expected.
The Republican line on Obamacare, in terms of its cost, has been the same since day one. They say it will “bankrupt America.” That rhetoric flies in the face of what others have found, which is that the ACA would save the country money. Now, in a March, 2015 report, the Congressional Budget Office is finding that the law will cost even less than originally expected.
It is not surprising that most Americans don’t know that Obamacare’s costs are coming in as lower than predicted, given that so many watch the “fair and balanced” network, aka Fox “so-called” News. Kaiser’s poll found that only eight percent of respondents were aware of the ACA’s effect on the country’s finances. Half of respondents believed that the law is costing the country more than originally estimated.
Also not surprising is the finding that whether you approve or disapprove of the law influences what you think about the cost, as does your political affiliation. Those opposed to the law are more likely to incorrectly believe that it is more expensive than expected. Republicans also are more likely to be incorrect about the cost.
Have you noticed that every new report that is issued about Obamacare is more positive than the last? Despite Republicans’ best efforts to kill the law, many Americans now have the opportunity to get good quality health insurance for the first time. As stories of Obamacare success filter through the populace (since they’re certainly not going to get highlighted on the evening news), look for the law’s favorability rating to continue to increase. The question that remains to be answered is whether Republicans’ staunch opposition to, and continued lying about, the law, will hurt them at the ballot box?
Americans have short political memories. If Republicans get wise, and decide to stop vocally opposing Obamacare, they might find their jobs mostly safe. But, if they are still telling the public that the law is “not working,” or “is a disaster,” or “will bankrupt the country” on the eve of the next election, and voters’ experience is largely something different from GOP rhetoric, 2016 could be a Democratic landslide. We can certainly hope.
Featured image via Neon Tommy