Premium Shock? Fifteen Point Drop in Support for Obamacare Among Democrats

Premium Shock? Fifteen Point Drop in Support for Obamacare Among Democrats
March 1, 2013

Benjamin Domenech

Benjamin Domenech (bdomenech@heartland.org) is a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute. Domenech... (read full bio)

Here's an incredible statistic courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation's tracking survey on the popularity of President Obama's health care law: since the 2012 election, support for the law has dropped among Democrats by fifteen points.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act currently outnumber supporters (42 percent to 36), according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's latest tracking survey. Public opinion has switched back and forth since the law passed in 2010, and in November, support for the law was 4 percent higher than opposition (43 percent to 39). 

Kaiser attributed the marked slide in support among Democrats to a "post-presidential election fade." In November, 72 percent of that group expressed support for the law, compared with 57 percent who feel favorably toward it now.

Unaffiliated voters saw a similar but less dramatic decline in support, with 32 percent approving of the healthcare law compared with 37 percent in November.

Yes, it could be a post-presidential fade - but it could also be the first stages of premium shock:

Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.  Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.

In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.

In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.  The proposed increases compare with about 4 percent for families with employer-based policies.

If the reason for the declining support is the latter, expect for it to get worse before it gets even worse.

Benjamin Domenech

Benjamin Domenech (bdomenech@heartland.org) is a senior fellow at The Heartland Institute. Domenech... (read full bio)