Feature

Obamacare: Why the uninsured aren’t happy

Do you know which group of Americans has an extremely sour view of Obamacare?

Do you know which group of Americans has an extremely sour view of Obamacare? asked Peter Suderman in Reason.com. People without health insurance. That’s right: A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll has found that 47 percent of uninsured Americans have an unfavorable opinion about the Affordable Care Act, while just 24 percent support it. This is the very “group of people the law was, in theory, supposed to benefit most.” If the president can’t win them over, what chance does he have with the rest of the population? Obamacare’s architects never understood the uninsured, said Michael Barone in The Wall Street Journal. Many healthy, young people go with minimal or no coverage because they don’t want to pay premiums covering services—like maternity care—they don’t need. But Obamacare demands they buy complete policies or face a fine. Is it any wonder they hate this law?

The uninsured have been tricked by relentless Republican propaganda, said Kevin Drum in MotherJones.com. “We’ve been through a period in which every copay increase, every premium increase, and every narrowing of benefits has been blamed on Obamacare.” In reality, all these trends have been occurring for years. The wave of misinformation has blinded people to what’s actually in Obamacare, said Ed Kilgore in WashingtonMonthly.com. Surveys have found that almost 50 percent of the nation’s 40 million uninsured still don’t realize Obamacare heavily subsidizes the cost of health policies for the poor and the middle class, making them very affordable. More than half don’t know about its “ban on denial of insurance for pre-existing medical conditions.” Once the uninsured learn about the law’s many benefits, their opinions will change.

Popular or not, Obamacare isn’t going to be repealed, said Kelly Kennedy in USA Today. About 15 million people will probably be covered by the law by year’s end, and it would be politically impossible to yank that coverage. Insurance and health experts also say that trying to disentangle the ACA’s reforms from the health-care system would create chaos, and cause premiums to soar for everyone. That’s why Republicans are no longer talking about repeal, and are instead pushing an Obamacare “alternative” that keeps many of the law’s main features—such as coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. As former Bush administration official Gail Wilensky grudgingly now admits: Obamacare “is here to stay.”

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