Open enrollment for ObamaCare kicked off quietly on Saturday and so far, enrollment has been low and slow. While healthcare.gov has not been the nightmare it was during last year, that botched rollout is still fresh on the memories of Americans. Since then, what we’ve seen of ObamaCare has been one disappointment after another. That is affecting the perception of the president’s signature law among all Americans but especially the large swath of independent Americans.
According to Gallup, support for ObamaCare is at an all-time low of just 37 percent. The percent of disapproval climbed to a new high of 56 percent. The un-Affordable Care Act hit its highest level of approval in December 2012 and has consistently fallen since then. The cancellations of millions of plans, rise in healthcare premiums, and the botched rollout have all fed growing disapproval with the law.
Support for ObamaCare is dropping especially fast among Americans who describe themselves as independents, who were never particularly supportive of government intervention in healthcare to begin with, falling six points over the past month alone and almost ten points since June of last year.
This may be the justification that a new, Republican-led Congress needs to push repeal of all or parts of ObamaCare over the next session.
Americans were slightly more positive than negative about the law around the time of the 2012 election, but they have consistently been more likely to disapprove than approve of the law in all surveys that have been conducted since then. Approval has been in the low 40% or high 30% range after a noticeable dip that occurred in early November 2013…
Americans have never been overly positive toward the ACA, at best showing a roughly equal division between approval and disapproval early on in the law's implementation. The percentage of Americans who approve of the law represents a new numerical low, which could indicate a loss of faith in the law amid the aftermath of the 2014 midterms. Although the ACA, also called Obamacare, was not as dominant an issue in this year's congressional elections as it was in 2010, the issue was part of Republicans' campaign efforts to oppose the president's agenda overall. In doing that, many of the party's candidates were successful.
Though the law's implementation suffered setbacks last fall, government officials have greater optimism for the health insurance website's usability this time around. Importantly, though, approval of the law has remained low throughout the year even as it has had obvious success in reducing the uninsured rate. And with approval holding in a fairly narrow range since last fall, it may be that Americans have fairly well made up their minds about the law, and even a highly successful second open enrollment period may not do much to boost their approval.
We must wonder, if ObamaCare was so good for America, why aren’t Americans signing up by the tens of millions?
Americans don’t like or want ObamaCare. However, they do want healthcare reform that lowers costs and improves access for everyone. Unforunately for President Obama, his namesake bill failed to deliver on either of these promises.