“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” That was President Obama in a speech before Congress back in Sept. 2009, pitching the health reform plan he’d sign six months later.
It doesn’t look like he’s going to get his wish.
In the three-plus years since the ObamaCare exchanges opened, the law is teetering on the edge of the abyss. Enrollment is well below expectations, not enough young people are signing up, insurers are failing or dropping out of the program, and, by all appearances, premiums are set to spike even higher than last year.
Now a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released late last week shows that the public is far from satisfied with what Obama claimed was the be-all and end-all of reform.
Overall, just 38% have a favorable view of ObamaCare, which continues a more or less steady decline in approval since last summer. Fully 43% want the law either repealed or scaled back, while just 14% say that Congress should “move forward with implementing the law as it is.”
Nor does the public feel that ObamaCare solved much. In fact, the survey finds that health care ranks No. 4 on the list of priorities for this presidential election, right after jobs, national security and immigration.
When asked specifically about health care, the two top issues are the “Affordable Care Act” and “health care costs.” In other words, the biggest health care concerns people have right now are the law Obama signed, and the problem it was supposed to address.
Even Democrats are growing restive with ObamaCare, with 25% of Democrats now saying they have an unfavorable view of the law, up from 19% last month.
To be sure, a big chunk of this group (40%) wants the law expanded to cover more people (despite the fact that this is what ObamaCare itself was supposed to achieve), but 28% of these Democrats now say ObamaCare should either be repealed or scaled back.
The public’s view of the law is not likely to improve much when insurers start to announce their proposed rate hikes for 2017. Next year marks the end of ObamaCare’s $25 billion temporary “reinsurance” program, which was basically a subsidy scheme designed to hold down premiums in ObamaCare’s first three years.
By all accounts, now that insurers will have to price their policies to reflect the true cost of ObamaCare coverage, enrollees are in for the rate shocks of their lives. That could, in turn, cause further problems with enrollment as well as the stability and viability of the ObamaCare exchanges.
No matter who ends up in the White House next year, there is no question that ObamaCare’s compounding failures will require the next president to “take up this cause” again.