By Grace-Marie Turner
ObamaCare is celebrating its fifth anniversary, but few Americas are cheering.
The Real Clear Politics average of the latest major opinion polls about the health law shows that 52.5% oppose it and only 42% approve. The 10.5% spread is identical to the average of polls taken when the law was signed five years ago. Approval numbers never have topped disapproval numbers since the law was enacted. It is not getting more popular and it is not settled law, as President Obama claims.
President Obama is touting the increased number of people who have health insurance as a result of the law. According to Gallup, the uninsured rate among U.S. adults averaged 12.9% in the fourth quarter of last year. The uninsured rate was 14.4% the year before the health law passed, also according to Gallup.
So our health sector has been thrown into turmoil, millions of people have lost their private health plans, $1 trillion in new and higher taxes have been imposed on individuals and businesses – and the uninsured rate has dropped a net of 1.5%.
The majority of the newly-insured are enrolled in Medicaid, the joint federal-state health program that generally pays doctors and hospitals less than any other health plan. Adding millions more able-bodied adults to Medicaid makes it even harder for the poorest, most vulnerable Americans to find a physician to see them. We can do better than this.
In focus group meetings we have organized and observed, it is clear why the law continues to be so unpopular. Most wanted to cover the uninsured, but the law’s huge overreach means they are feeling for themselves the law’s impact. ObamaCare has become personal.
Family health insurance premiums increased by more than $3,000, and did not decrease by $2,500, as President Obama promised they would by 2012. And this year, the average individual deductible for an Obamacare bronze plan is $5,081 a year – 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for a comparable individually-purchased plan.
Originally published on Forbes, March 23, 2015