ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Obama destroys public support for universal coverage
Over the past decade, there has been a cultural shift in Americans' attitudes about the principle of universal health care coverage, one of the main rationales for the ACA. In 2007, during the presidential primary season, public support for the view that the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health insurance coverage was at 64% (Gallup, 2007). By 2014, this number had declined to 47% (Pew, January–February 2014). In addition, there has been a decline in overall public trust in the federal government to handle domestic problems such as health care from 51% in 2012 to 40% in 2014, which may also play a role in depressing public support for the ACA (Gallup, September 2014).
Now, to be fair, NEJM goes on to attribute this drop to paid advertising by ObamaCare opponents:
One often unrecognized factor that may be contributing to these overall findings is the extraordinary level of paid negative advertising opposing the ACA that has taken place since the law was enacted. A recent study reported that $445 million had been spent for advertising related to the ACA through the beginning of 2014.6 Of that amount, 94% was expended on negative ad messages about this national law. Moreover, the large volume of advertisements against the ACA has continued throughout the campaign season, with 37,544 anti-ACA ads between August 1 and September 11, 2014.7
Fine, I suppose, if you assume that advertising as such caused the drop, for which the NEJM (surprisingly) provides no evidence. However, I prefer to think that ObamaCare's rollout clusterfuck, narrow networks, narrrow formularies, high deductibles, high co-pays, and general crapification caused the drop -- not PR, but actual experience.
Of course, people are turning down "universal coverage" only in the context to which it has been presented to them; that is, the market-based, neo-liberal approach ObamaCare embodies (as opposed to, say, ObamaCare). So it's unfortunate that single payer was never "on the table," a fact for which "left" gatekeepers -- looking at you, Digby, and you, Jane -- bear special responsibility, for silencing and suppressing single payer advocacy in 2009-2010. Well done, all.
The bright spot is how fast public opinion can change.