The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (article here) finds President Obama’s health-care law hurting him politically even amongst those it was intended to to help. Fifty percent of those without insurance now say they think the law was a bad idea, up from 34 percent in September.
That’s not entirely surprising. In Durham last month with Obamacare navigators, I sensed not elation at the law’s passage but a general sense of confusion that may help to explain the poll’s finding. “I have to tell people all the time, ‘It’s the Affordable Care Act, not the Free Health Care Act,’” one navigator told me. The same navigator said the consumers who come to him are largely unaware that they will have to pay a penalty if they choose not to purchase insurance. A poll released yesterday by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies found that a third of the uninsured are unfamiliar with the federal insurance exchange or those set up by the states. Frustrations with the website aside, these sorts of things may explain the dissatisfaction expressed in the poll.
Given the sentiments of the uninsured, it is perhaps not surprising that the health-care bill is unpopular among the general population, too. Fifty-four percent said the law is having a negative impact as compared to 24 percent who said it is having a positive impact.
The president’s disapproval rating also shot to an all-time high of 54 percent. Obamacare is hurting him: Among those who registered dissatisfaction with his job performance, 33 percent said it was because Obamacare “isn’t working,” “raises health care rates,” or “warrants improvement.” That’s compared to 17 percent who cited a general perception of dishonesty or disingenuousness and 11 percent who said his policies have hurt the economy.
The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted between December 4 and December 8.