Support Takes a Big Hit, But …


It’s been really surprising that with all the terrible press and definitely suboptimal reality of the Obamacare rollout, support and opposition to the law remained basically totally unchanged. Well, that changed this week.

Roughly speaking, it’s gone from a bit less than break-even support to a 10 to 15 point deficit. Read the details here.

To put it mildly, that ain’t good for the law. Though, frankly, I’m almost surprised it hasn’t fallen more.

But there’s another point I want to return to that I discussed yesterday. Small consolation to the Democrats who are freaking out about the politics – but this firestorm about Obamacare is being driven by something that’s happening to a really, really small percentage of the population. The White House and the defenders of this law need to grapple with the political situation they’re in. Saying if things didn’t suck, they wouldn’t suck doesn’t change much. But through all that, it is important to keep a clear eye on the underlying reality.

And the reality is this: It’s clear that the great majority – not all by any means, but the great majority – of people with canceled policies will get better coverage for less money through the exchanges.

This is why the failure of the website was such a double-whammy for the rollout. First, it provided an opening for very hostile coverage of the law, into which the cancellations/promise story exploded. But, second, it kept virtually all those “winners” from knowing they would get better deals, talking about it with friends or showing up on TV. The rollout, in this sense, really was a perfect storm, with different glitches colliding and massively catalyzing each other and thus leading to mountains of suck.

There’s no easy way out of the hits the law has taken over the last six weeks. But Dylan Scott explains very clearly here how the real problem really can be fixed. And it has a lot to do with getting the website working. The problems with the site have led to the entire public discussion being focused on higher premiums for a really, really small slice of the population. To change that, the site has to be fixed.