Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

December 5, 2013

Why voters are done believing Obamacare promises

In April, the Real Clear Politics average of polls showed that 47 percent of Americans opposed Obamacare, while 41 percent supported it — a 6-percentage-point edge for opponents of the president’s health care law, which at the time was still months away from implementation.

The latest average of polls, less than two months into the law’s rollout, shows 57 percent opposing Obamacare, with 38 percent supporting — an enormous 19-point gap between opponents and supporters.

The two numbers explain why Republicans made little progress when they tried to warn Americans about Obamacare. For years, GOP warnings about Obamacare were about something that had not yet arrived. People had not experienced it, did not have friends who had experienced it and didn’t fully understand what it was. Many tuned out the Republican alarms.

Now that has changed. Millions of Americans are unhappy with what they have experienced under Obamacare — canceled policies, higher premiums and sky-high deductibles. They are also much more likely to believe predictions of future problems. They’ve seen what has already happened and now know it can get worse.

So how can it get worse? So far, Obamacare has upended the individual market for health insurance, which covers about 10 million people. The next step, according to the respected health care analyst Robert Laszewski, will likely come in the small-employer market, meaning businesses with anywhere between two and 50 employees. That covers about 45 million people.

“Obamacare is impacting the small-group insurance market in many of the same ways as the individual health insurance market,” Laszewski writes. Under Obamacare, the small employers who offer their workers health coverage will be “required to comply with the same essential benefit mandates, age rating changes, and pre-existing condition reforms the individual market faces. That means essentially all small-group policies cannot continue as they are — they have to be discontinued.”

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