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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.

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Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

Lovely! So not only did Ebolacare turn us all into indentured servants of the insurance companies, but through its sheer wretchedness it has poisoned the minds of the people against the idea of a democratically planned health care system altogether. Because of the dishonest labeling and marketing of Ebolacare, the people now fear and loath the one thing that can possibly rescue them from their servitude. Barry must be so proud, he scored a three bagger: 1. Constituency sold off to a bazillionaire donor group. 2. Voters -Democrats included- soured on the idea that government can tackle basic social and economic issues and solve their problems. 3. The money hungry Democratic Party now has another industry (this one representing one sixth of the economy) as a steady client which will be needing to buy legislative favors from them every year in perpetuity. All that's left is for Barry to personally cash in upon leaving office. He should be worth $100 million before you can say "medical bankruptcy". Why, the speaking fees from being America's first black President should be good for that by themselves. Not that he ever did a damn thing for black people while in office, aside from staying black. Add in his unique insight as "America's Health Care President" together with the oceans of tax payer money sloshing through the industry groups that would want to hear the great man speak about how he made them rich beyond their wildest dreams he brought about the humanitarian goal of universal healthcare in America, and I'd say his earning potential is practically unlimited. Billionaire ex-President? When all is said and done in the Book of Barry, maybe - and why not? He's earned it.

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Ads can make people think Kerry is a coward and Bush Jr is a war hero with a codpiece. No question about that. But negative ads can't be the whole story here. Nobody's running negative ads about Medicare. Because they wouldn't work. People's daily experience does count for something. Complete lies only work if they're about something people don't know, or it's something they want to believe.

There may be some of that in the anti-Ocare effect, but there's also obviously no ocean of people who feel they've been treated well.

Submitted by Dromaius on

Governments that have a (relatively speaking) true national healthcare system (Canada) have an incentive to have a healthy population (less costly national healthcare). Thus, they (relatively speaking) speak the truth about some of the myths of healthcare.

My SO watched a Canadian-produced show last night about the myth of how lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease, a myth that perpetuates the statin industry. 50% of heart attack patients have low cholesterol. Of course, here in the United States, the myth about cholesterol is so prevalent that if anyone of importance suggested that low cholesterol isn't necessarily the proper goal to prevent CAD and heart attacks, the tar and feathers would come out. This, I feel is because industry has been so effective at perpetuating the myths that statins actually are good. In fact, while statins may help a little for some cases, the side effects (dementia, muscle wasting), are equal down sides for MOST people (my father in law included). My father in law, who now looks like he's starving from the muscle wasting and who can't remember who his grandchildren are, stays on the statins because when he goes off them his cholesterol soars. Yes, a few people benefit from statins, but not the numbers who are actually on the drugs.

Anyway, other myths like this exist, but they are also hot points here in this country. Countries that have national healthcare have accepted these things as myths and have cut back on screenings for them. I won't name names for fear of starting a debate.

m'kay, venting done. Yep, you've re-iterated one of the primary purposes of Obamacare, which was to end the idea of universal healthcare.

Submitted by lambert on

Huge fight over the NHS over there; billions that should go to front line care pissed away on neo-liberal rent suckers....

Amazing this could happen. I guess hat tip Tony Blair?

Submitted by lambert on

The "New Labour" dude who did for Labour what the Third Way types did for the Democrats here.

I don't know the detail, but even though the Tories with Cameron are the government, Labour isn't putting up the tooth and nail scorched earth fight it should be doing to protect the NHS.