A couple of polls have shown an uptick in approval for Obamacare.
The CNN poll has good cross-tabs, so I was curious about support from Democrats.
One of the problems with the ACA was it is an orphan child. Anyone familiar with its origins knows this was initially a Republican idea, born out of the AEI. As a result from the beginning there was a lack of enthusiasm about it from the Democratic Base. It was basically positioned as “this is the best we can do”. While I think this was probably true, it is also true that people tend not to man the barricades for “the best we can do”. Exit polling shows that most Democrats wanted it expanded – a reflection of the fact that 81% of Democrats wanted Single Payer, not the ACA.
So whatever the merits on policy (I think they are substantial) it is difficult to argue that it was a political success.
And that is because even within the Democratic Base it isn’t viewed as one.
In the past I have noted that solutions that are “wonky” are often extremely complicated, as a result are damn near impossible to explain. Clinton’s education was one example. And Obamacare is another.
Most people are pretty confused about what it is. Part of the reason for this is IT DOESN’T EFFECT MOST PEOPLE. I get my insurance through my firm, and the effects of Obamacare are not direct. Since most people aren’t directly effected, most people aren’t invested in it.
Even most DEMOCRATS say it hasn’t improved their lives.
And since they have no direct experience with the law, they aren’t ready to claim it is a success. MOST DEMOCRATS SAY IT IS TOO EARLY TO TELL IF IT IS A SUCCESS:
The problem isn’t that Democrats don’t support it, as this shows:
There are a number of lessons to be learned from all of this. Among them:
*Good policy isn’t enough unless you can explain it
*It is not enough to get people to say the support something, they need to be ready to defend it.
There are others. I think in retrospect had Obamacare dealt with drug prices for example, everyone would have been aware of the law and seen it benefits in a more concrete way. Successful entitlements are ones in which everyone feels they have a stake. This was simply not the case for Obamacare.