Gallup is out with a new poll this morning on what respondents would like Congress to do with Obamacare. Despite the horrible launch of the federal exchange website, opinion over what to do with the site has barely budged in two years.
Take a look:
The percentage of people who want to keep the law or expand is the same as it was in January 2011. Support for repeal has grown slightly since the beginning of October, but is the same as in January 2011 as well.
The biggest threat to Obamacare the past few months has not been public opinion. It’s been the website.
As long as the website worked, millions of Americans would have the opportunity to browse new insurance plans. Many of those who had their plans cancelled would find cheaper policies. Some would not. But the success or failure of the law would be based on its policy outcomes.
People are not going to care about a two month delay in the site if they can find less expensive, better health insurance. They also are not going to care about the website’s launch if their premiums rise and they lose their doctor. They will care about how Obamacare affects their lives.
The only serious threat to the law was if the website proved entirely unworkable. This was a legitimate concern inside the White House. Even if they scrapped the website and using paper applications, officials would still have had to use the system to input information. There was no magic cure to the website’s ailments.
Fortunately for the administration, that has proven not to be the case. Consumers seem to be having a much easier time navigating the site and signing up for plans. There are still serious concerns over the back-end errors, but it’s unclear how significant those are since the Center for Medicare and Medicaid has been reluctant to comment on those issues.
None of this is to say that the website’s problems have not hurt the president. The public no longer trusts him and his approval rating has plummeted. This makes sense. Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” promise and the website’s horrible launch were not failures of Obamacare. They were failures of the president.
For that reason, Americans have lost faith in the Obama administration. But their opinions on health reform have not changed since the law has not truly been tested yet.
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