Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Kaiser Foundation: More Americans Want to Scale Back or Repeal Obamacare

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Obamacare is getting more unpopular. A year ago, most people wanted to keep the law and improve it (56%) vs. repeal it (31%). But now 46% want to repeal it or scale it back vs. 42% who want to keep the law as is or expand it.

A quarter of the country (25%) has been hurt by Obamacare. While only 16% have been helped by it. Most people (57%) have felt no direct impact.

A year ago 54% had felt no direct iimpact, 29% had been hurt and 17% has been helped.

Byron York points out that the only income group that views Obamacare favorably is those earning under $40,000. And they aren't crazy about it. Only 42% are favorable vs. 38% unfavorable. In the middle class ($40,000 to $89,999) 57% are unfavorable vs. 33% favorable. York underlines that this does not bode well for the 2016 election.
Democrats have already paid a pretty high political price, losing control of the House in 2010 and the Senate last year. But the price-paying is probably not over.
Of course President Obama will continue to defend Obamacare until he leaves office and beyond. Hillary Clinton, should she be the Democratic nominee in 2016, will perhaps be more flexible in implementing the law, or more open to tweaking it, but on the most fundamental level will be stuck defending it.
Meanwhile, middle class voters will probably have the same opinion of Obamacare when they go to the polls on Nov. 8, 2016, as they do today. Of course other factors will play a role in those voters' decisions, but Obamacare will be part of it.
However, most people (50%) and most independents (51%) want to see debate on the law continue. Only a minority (45%) want to see the country focus on other issues. So, Obamacare's unpopularity will undoubtedly play a role in 2016.


MAX Redline said...

Well, as he said in the runup to the last election: "I'm not on the ballot, but my policies are". We know how that turned out, and he's now determined to ram them through no matter what, because he just doesn't give a rip any more.

And if you think Obamacare's unpopular now, just wait until April, when a lot of folks are going to get a big surprise: required by law to sign up in 2013, they were ordered to estimate their income for 2014. I used our 2013 income for the estimate, but - Surprise! - my wife landed a job in mid-2014.

That means my estimate was off, and so we'll have to pay back the credit received to offset premium payments. I knew this was going to happen, but a lot of others didn't. Look for the "popularity" of Obamacare to drop like a rock after this tax filing season.

T. D. said...

Great observation, Max! There will be a lot more people personally affected in a couple of months. I think you are right that pay backs will be a huge factor. A lesser factor, because somewhat well known, is the penalty to be taken out of refunds. I'm assuming most people weren't smart enough to change their withholding so that there would be no refund. So, those people will be added to those with personal experience of Obamacare.

I'll keep my eye out for new upcoming polls on that.

MAX Redline said...

I think the penalties for not having purchased health "insurance" will be less of a factor than the reimbursements for overpayments due to inaccurate estimates of 2014 income, TD. I suspect that those will awaken a lot of people.

You're right; most people kind of ignore taxes until filing time, so many won't have adjusted withholding to compensate for penalty - but many others are going to be seriously ticked at having to pay back inflated reimbursements because they underestimated - in 2013 - their income for 2014. I expect a backlash.

Most people, I think, don't approach taxes like I do - I apply game theory to them. That involves looking ahead (and looking for legal loopholes). The idea is to reduce refunds and taxes due to zero, so they cancel out. If you look at the ads from H&R Block, though, it's "refund season!".

That's stupid.

T. D. said...

Stupid is right, Max. It's get your money back without-earning-a-speck-of-interest-on-it time.

Of course, you're right that the income tax refund penalty will have a great deal less impact both financially and emotionally than being hit with an unexpected pay back of the "subsidy" given.

One feels sorry for people who were on the ropes, got a little ahead, and now have to pay a penalty for that.