A couple of days ago, Michael Hiltzik at the LA Times wrote an interesting story with an even more interesting title, "The truth is, Americans love Obamacare."
OK, that title might be a bit of an overstatement.
Perhaps, "Americans like Obamacare" might be more accurate?
No? Would you accept "Americans like the Affordable Care Act"?
While Hiltzik maintains that the (honest) truth is: "The American public loves Obamacare, with as many as 88% in favor, according to one survey," I would settle for "Americans like the Affordable Care Act." This, in my opinion, is becoming more and more clear as the health care exchange sites are flooded by those seeking to apply for health care insurance and, to a lesser extent, by the more favorable reaction on the street and elsewhere when "Obamacare" is replaced by the "Affordable Care Act" in questions and discussions about the new health care law. But more about this later.
Hiltzik answers the expected reaction of "How can that [the 88% in favor of Obamacare] be, when polls regularly show a plurality of respondents with an 'unfavorable' view of Obamacare?" by pointing to a September Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, where the difference was 43% unfavorable to 39% favorable and says:
The answer, of course, is that most Americans have no idea what's in the law. In the Kaiser survey, 57% said they didn't have enough information to know how it would affect them. When they're asked how they feel about specific provisions, however, they're almost always thunderously in favor.
Hiltzik provides the following figures from a Kaiser March 2013 poll to support his premise:
Tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance: 88% in favor.
Closing the Medicare drug benefit doughnut hole: 81% in favor.
Extension of dependent coverage to offspring up to age 26: 76% in favor.
Expanding Medicaid: 71% in favor.
Ban on exclusions for preexisting conditions: 66% in favor.
Employer mandate: 57% in favor.Hiltzik admits that there is "one provision that always polls negatively" -- the individual mandate -- but which is "unfortunately" necessary to make the elimination of preexisting conditions fiscally possible. "Without it, you'd bankrupt every health insurer in the country, because people wouldn't enroll until they're sick," Hiltzik adds.
The only possible reason for the alleged unpopularity of Obamacare, Hiltzik says, is "that the law's opponents have succeeded brilliantly in marketing 'Obamacare' as something it's not, and its defenders have failed miserably at communicating what it is."
Both are true, Republicans have masterfully succeeded in mischaracterizing -- demonizing might be a better term -- Obamacare while Democrats have woefully failed in educating the public about the Affordable Care Act.
But now, Americans in search of adequate and affordable health insurance -- millions for the first time -- can see for themselves that the Affordable Care Act is not the abominable "Obamacare" that opponents have painted it to be. They are not only seeing the truth with their own eyes, but are also coming to realize the sophistry opponents of the ACA have been capable of, for purely partisan and ideological reasons.
The success of Republican sophistry in pillorying the ACA -- and in vilifying the President -- is perhaps best illustrated by answers "people on the street" gave to questions asking if they preferred Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act: "Most of the respondents signaled their skepticism of Obamacare while heaping praise on the Affordable Care Act. One woman -- who apparently liked the ring of "Affordable Care Act" -- warned that Obamacare is just one step on the way to a national gun ban," according to the LA Times.
But things are about to change...