The good news has continued to flow in for Obamacare. It met its projected goals for enrollment, drove down the insurance rate, and did not lead to a drastic increase in health insurance costs. Millions of people with pre-existing conditions or who couldn’t previously afford health insurance can now gain access to it. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans longer. By most measurements, the law is meeting its goals.
Yet will Democrats ever benefit from this? For some reason, the law continues to be unpopular. Annie Lowrey explains why:
ne major reason is that nobody has “Obamacare,” a point made by the political scientist Jonathan Bernstein and others. People like Joshua have Medicaid. Others have subsidized private insurance purchased through a state exchange, like Kynect or the Arkansas Health Connector. Even those who went through the federal site to obtain insurance never saw the phrases “Affordable Care Act” or “Obamacare,” Bernstein points out. As such, anecdotes about the newly uninsured failing to understand it was Obamacare that got them insurance abound.
Obama himself has referenced the fact that many still don’t know what’s in the law. He ticked off a laundry list of provisions at a speech in April. “These are all benefits that have been taking place for a whole lot of families out there, many who don’t realize that they’ve received these benefits,” he added.
There’s statistical evidence that confusion about Obamacare continues to dampen support for the law, too. Surveys continue to find that the Medicaid expansion is more popular than the Affordable Care Act. The subsidies to help families buy health insurance are more popular than the Affordable Care Act. The provision allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance plans for longer is more popular than the Affordable Care Act. Even Republicans support the major coverage provisions of the law — just not the law itself. “If the public had perfect understanding of the elements that we examined, the proportion of Americans who favor the bill might increase from the current level of 32 percent to 70 percent,” one team of researchers found.