The April Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, which finds that only 35 percent of American have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention. But this top-line finding misses a more compelling point: Even Kaiser, the most reliably pro-Obamacare of all of the Obamacare polling outfits, says that the overhaul’s popularity has dropped dramatically from the time of its passage. And given how unpopular Obamacare was at the time of its passage — when the Democrats rammed it through against the clear will of the American people and without a single Republican vote — that’s saying something.
In April of 2010, in its first poll taken after House and Senate Democrats passed Obamacare and President Obama signed it into law, Kaiser claimed that 46 percent of Americans had “a generally favorable opinion” of the overhaul, while 40 percent had “a generally unfavorable opinion.” So, according to Kaiser, Obamacare then enjoyed a net favorability rating of +6 points. Now, three years later, Kaiser says that only 35 percent of Americans hold “a generally favorable opinion” of Obamacare, while 40 percent hold “a generally unfavorable opinion” of it — for a net favorability rating of minus-5 points. As this 11-point drop in support suggests, Americans aren’t warming up to Obamacare over time. (Weak-kneed Republicans, such as those considering voluntarily implementing Obamacare’s massive Medicaid expansion in their states, should take note.)
It’s important to observe that Kaiser’s polling has long provided Obamacare with its most favorable results. In April 2010 — the same month that Kaiser claimed Americans liked Obamacare by a margin of 6 points — RealClearPolitics showed eleven polls on Obamacare, and every one of them found that Americans disliked the overhaul. The average margin of opposition in those eleven polls was 13 points (53 to 40 percent) — a 19-point swing from the concurrent Kaiser polling.
This is par for the course for Kaiser, which (like most big health insurance companies and big hospital conglomerates) is clearly pro-Obamacare. This description of Obama’s signature legislation, posted on Kaiser’s website (complete with the shortening of its name from the bureaucratic-sounding Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the cozier-sounding “Affordable Care Act”), could have been written by Kathleen Sebelius:
“Three years ago, on March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, became federal law. It initiated the most significant changes in the U.S. health care system since the establishment of Medicare in 1965.
“As an integrated health care delivery system covering more than 9 million Americans, Kaiser Permanente expects that the new law will affect our organization and the members we serve in many different ways.
“Some of those impacts include:
“Coverage and its availability — no one can be turned down for coverage because of a medical condition, and all Americans should be eligible for some form of coverage, whether through their employer, the new statewide Health Insurance Marketplaces, Medicare, or Medicaid.
“Choice and the information to make good choices — with statewide Health Insurance Marketplaces and provisions such as the requirement for plain, easy-to-understand language in a Summary of Benefits and Coverage, Americans will have more information and more options to choose what is best for them.
“Performance — through incentive programs and payment method changes, care providers will be rewarded for their performance and efficiency, encouraging more providers to focus on quality improvement and innovation.”
Alas, the American citizenry isn’t nearly as enamored with Obamacare as Kaiser is — and is becoming even less so over time. The American people rightly sense that Obamacare means higher health costs, worse health care, increased coercion, and decreased liberty. It also means reduced job prospects, reduced choice in health plans, an acceleration of the looming doctor shortage, higher premiums, higher deficits, taxpayer-funded abortion, and an even greater consolidation of money and power in Washington at the expense of the doctor-patient relationship and Americans’ overarching freedom.