EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 15, 2013

Column: Obamacare support declines as start date approaches

Poor President Barack Obama. Days before a key element of “Obamacare” takes effect, only 39 percent of Americans say they approve of it.

Despite the president’s many burdens, notably the mess in Syria, the Affordable Care Act is his signature act in office — his legacy. And it isn’t looking as if many more big accomplishments are ahead.

The law is losing popularity. In January, about 51 percent of Americans said they looked with favor on the 2010 complicated, confusing and puzzling law that few in the Obama administration, even with the help of former President Bill Clinton, have been able to explain adequately to us.

The current polling was done by CNN/ORC International just before Americans without health insurance are supposed to begin enrolling in new health care exchanges or government “marketplace” for health insurance. The poll said support has declined the most among two big Democratic supporters: women and Americans who make less than $50,000.

The public is not to be blamed. We’ve been hearing for months that the exchanges aren’t quite ready. We’ve been hearing that the administration postponed for a year the mandate that employers with more than 50 employees provide coverage for their workers. We’ve been hearing for months that Americans don’t know what the new law will mean to them or what it will cost.

Republicans in Congress hate Obamacare so much that the House has voted 40 times to repeal it. That will not happen, so some Republicans hope to shut down the government at the end of September rather than put any money into the law.

Yes, most people like the part in Obamacare about pre-existing conditions no longer being considered uninsurable and also the part about children being covered up to age 26 through their parents’ policies.

The rest seems extremely murky.

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