Obamacare loses the unisured

Peter Sunderman:
Obamacare has lost the uninsured.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week asked uninsured individuals whether or not they thought the law was a good idea. Just 24 percent said they thought it was. In contrast, half the uninsured polled said they thought it was a bad idea. As the Journal points out, that represents an 11 point drop in support for the law amongst the uninsured since September. The same poll also finds that 56 percent of the uninsured believe the law will have a negative effect on the U.S. health care system.

Let that sink in: What that means is that regardless of how bad the old system—the system that for whatever reason left them uninsured—was, a majority of people without health coverage now think that Obamacare makes it worse.

That’s how poorly the rollout of the health law is perceived to have gone. The exact group the law was designed to help have instead turned on the law. It’s never been particularly popular with the wider public, but now even those who were supposed to be beneficiaries are skeptical.

That’s more than a political problem. It’s a policy problem—a threat to the law’s viability, especially when combined with other recent poll numbers showing that young people, who are crucial to the law’s coverage scheme, are rejecting the law as well. A Harvard Institute of Politics Poll released earlier this month found that 56 percent of young adults age 18-29 don’t approve of the health law. Only 29 percent of uninsured young adults said they expected to enroll.
The Democrats really miscalculated on this law.  They thought that objections to it would fade as it became operational, but those objections have grown as people experience the negative effects of the law.


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