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U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (R) and other Americans the White House says will benefit from the opening of health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden
The gold standard of health care polling, the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, is out for October and shows once again that the public is basically behind Obamacare, with significantly more wanting to keep it or expand it than to repeal it. Despite all of the Republicans' efforts to sabotage it, public opinion about Obamacare has held steady, 44 percent unfavorable versus 38 percent favorable, but large majorities are still opposed to Republican sabotage.
A solid majority of the public (60 percent) say they oppose the idea of cutting off funding as a way to stop the law from being implemented, and a higher share would like to see Congress expand the law or keep it as is (47 percent) rather than repeal it (37 percent). Partisan divisions are as deep as ever, with four in ten Democrats saying the want Congress to expand the law, and a similar share of Republicans (42 percent) wanting to see the law repealed and not replaced.
In really bad news for Republicans, the public does not share their obsession with Obamacare. At all.
Chart showing percentages paying attention to news stories during October.
In October, 75 percent of people reported following the government shutdown closely, 71 percent were paying attention to the economy, and 60 percent developments in Syria. In comparison, 53 percent were closely following the problems with the site.

For more than a year the Kaiser poll has consistently shown that the public is fed up with Republican efforts to kill the law. Probably not coincidentally all polls have been showing shrinking approval ratings for Republicans for more than a year.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (25+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:59:41 AM PDT

  •  The battle is over. The issue now is simply (13+ / 0-)

    to optimize the enrollment period.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit

    by khyber900 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:03:44 AM PDT

  •  Have you seen this chart from TPM? (20+ / 0-)

    insurance chart

    Gruber summarized his stats: ninety-seven per cent of Americans are either left alone or are clear winners, while three per cent are arguably losers. “We have to as a society be able to accept that,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, that’s a shame, but no law in the history of America makes everyone better off.”
    Disclaimer: I fall in the 3% of "No Real Consequence" (other than getting a superior plan for a lower premium). If we made more money we would have fallen into the 3% Potential Losers. But that's what all this fighting is over.


    Oh, I used to be disgusted
    Now I try to be amused
    ~~ Elvis Costello

    by smileycreek on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:08:14 AM PDT

  •  What these numbers also show is the quicksand.... (9+ / 0-)

    the GOP is in.  These numbers reflect years of propaganda and horror stories about the ACA.  As the plan kicks in full and people begin to realize that either it has no effect - AT ALL - on them or that it has an effect but in terms of replacing "no-insurance" insurance with "real insurance", support for the ACA will go up.

    That's when the blow back happens.  The charitable will ask "how stupid was the GOP to have fought this tooth and nail?  How could they be so wrong?"   Others will realize that the GOP was never in their corner and only wanted to deny them health care to keep profits flowing to the Insurance industry.

    Which is why the GOP is praying to whatever god they have that ObamaCare blows up before Nov. 2014.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:19:26 AM PDT

    •  Time is NOT on their side. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:16:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Profits will still be flowing to insurance (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      companies, even when the ACA has been fully implemented and accepted by the public - federal subsidies have guaranteed that.   The next thing the government needs to do is start a slow rise in the percentage of insurance premiums that must be spent on patient care.  The ACA sets this percentage at 80-85%.  It should be at 90-95% when fully phased in.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:25:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  public option would do the same (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver, JBraden, SueDe

        Next step: allow anyone to buy into Medicaid (state by state).

        That does three things:

        1. For people who want an inexpensive no-frills plan, Medicaid is perfect, since that's exactly what it is.

        2. By competing on price, it will help drive down the insurance price. The insurance companies can't all tacitly agree to gorge on the 15%-20% overhead.

        3. Minimizes the Medicaid glitch where Medicaid qualified people bounce on and off it depending on their annual income.

        (Medicaid instead of Medicare because it's not age-restricted, and avoids the political nightmare of touching Medicare. Yes, it's more bare-bones than Medicare, but that's a plus for point #1.)

    •  one thing I think changed for me... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kefauver, JBraden

      I've got insurance already through my employer, but I was in at the end of August for a yearly appointment, and paid the usual $15 out of pocket, but then a couple weeks later I received a check in the mail from my insurer reimbursing me for the 15.  Also just discovered that our insurance covers flu shots, which it never did before.
      I'm wondering if this is the kind of preventive type of care that insurers now have to cover under the ACA, or maybe my insurer just started doing it ahead of time knowing that they have to anyway after this year.

    •  If we don't get the implementation on track (0+ / 0-)

      We'll be up to our asses in quicksand, too.

      This Administration needs to focus like a laser beam on making this program work.  Spending so much time on messaging and PR instead of management means they're totally unprepared when any future problems surface in implementation.

      This is a big complex program that has to serve a lot of people and do it well.  Obama and crew need to respect that and focus on quality administration of the program, not just PR.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:33:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dare say Obama knows far more than you do how (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kefauver, jdsnebraska

        complex the program happens to be. I doubt you would be able to say more about what is entailed in all the moving parts of this legislation than Obama.

        In terms of PR, the Obama critics criticize the administration for losing the PR war now the criticism is he is involved in too much PR?

        Same ship...different day.

        •  No, he doesn't know more (0+ / 0-)

          if he did, we wouldn't be in this mess.

          Obama and Dem leaders in DC need to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.  Fix the problems, prevent new problems from occurring and do the PR war.

          If they can't handle that, they need to be replaced.  

          If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:08:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I might (kind of) lose...or not (15+ / 0-)

    I have Tricare Prime, and the retiree rumor-mill is spinning full time about rate increases for Tricare Prime and Tricare Standard.  My thoughts on this:

    (1) I have yet to be able to confirm these rumors.

    (2) Various administrations have been trying to tinker with Tricare since its inception.  Donald Rumsfeld pushed hard for rate increases way back in 2003.

    (3) Worst-case scenario is that my annual premium increases to about $1,800 per year (I currently pay something ridiculous like $800 per year).

    If this is how one defines losing, bring it on!  If the tradeoff is that several million of my fellow citizens can afford healthcare, I'd call that a win.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by DaveinBremerton on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:23:31 AM PDT

  •  just wondering what makes Kaiser (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, slothlax

    the "gold standard of healthcare polling"? It's more positive results on Obamacare popularity than other polls?

    For example the barely mentioned NBC poll (it's always mentioned a lot when it's favorable) from a few days ago has:

    A majority of Americans – 52 percent – believe the health care law needs either a major overhaul or to be completely eliminated, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds.
    Forty-four percent think it either needs minor modifications or that it’s working well as is.
    And those who think the law is a bad idea dropped a bit to 47% bad vs 37% good.
  •  Joan, if you don't do PR, you should. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    once again that the public is basically behind Obamacare
    Given that less than 40% of the public supports it and it has a -6 net favorability rating among those who expressed an opinion, that's got to be the most favorable way to put it.

    Not exactly inaccurate, and certainly appropriate on a highly partisan site. An accurate appraisal would likely be that Americans are willing to hold their noses and live with ACA because alternative is worse.

    That's an important narrative, too:  it's easy (and appropriate) to criticize ACA, but, when push comes to shove, nobody did something better and the status quo is intolerable.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:09:06 AM PDT

    •  Neglecting to mention that (4+ / 0-)

      as much as 12% of the 'Disapprove' is from people who think it doesn't go far enough to protect their fellow citizens.  All together it is about 50/50 - good news for ACA when you consider that the GOP has been lying about it and agitating for its demise for nearly 4 years.  And getting a lot of news coverage for doing so.

      •  Why, exactly, does that matter? (0+ / 0-)

        It's a lousy law and people don't like it.

        The telling point is that most people would rather keep it than repeal it. ACA is a lousy law, but the status quo is worse.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:26:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a good start (6+ / 0-)

          and it's far easier to improve a program that's already in place than it is to start from Square Zero every 10-15 years. Social Security wasn't perfect either when it started -- little protection for stay-at-home mothers and no coverage for domestic workers and farmworkers (overwhelmingly minority employment back then).

          For folks like my youngest niece, who was covered by her dad's insurance till she turned 26 and now can afford to buy health insurance on her substitute teacher's income (she's waiting to get a permanent job till her fiancé finally gets work in his profession somewhere), it's a blessing. Yes, it can be better -- I'd like to see an actual single-payer system, with dental coverage as well, but it's a decent first step.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:36:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  shhh, you're interfering with his spin (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kefauver, JBraden

            dino don't let facts like the percentage of people who view ACA as a step forward to single payer, or the millions who can actually afford good health insurance now, get in the way of his endless, mindless, "ACA baaaaaaaad" spin.

          •  It can be viewed that way. (0+ / 0-)

            And maybe that's exactly the right way to view it.

            I think it's a false start and goes in the wrong direction, but even that can amount to a good start in this sense:

            Once you've got something -- and survived it -- it's no longer scary to have something.  The conversation can change to how we make something good from how do we get anything at all.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:51:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  no it's not lousy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RadGal70, kefauver

          millions of people can finally obtain good quality insurance.
          You're just stating your own ignorant and biased opinions as fact.  
          But hey, don't let significant facts interfere with your own negative PR.  

    •  yes, easy for you to criticize (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you've been criticizing it forever, and looking for any chance you can to continue criticizing it.  

      "An accurate appraisal would likely be that Americans are willing to hold their noses and live with ACA because alternative is worse."

      Actually, a more accurate appraisal would be to note that many of those who don't like the ACA want to move to single payer, and are willing to accept this as a step in that direction.
      But then, that might not fit with your own biased story line.

      •  How does that not fit with my story line? (0+ / 0-)

        I think single payer is over-hyped, but I have no problem with it.  I would like to see a re-structuring of the way we deliver health care, one that promotes collaboration among doctors and fact-based care, but that's not inconsistent with single payer.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:48:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's setting the bar too low (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      red rabbit

      It's an historic project, one that has been decades in the making.

      Any political leader with half a brain knows its more important to focus on the quality of the program.  Do it right and you won't have to lie about it PR campaigns.

      Show some respect for the program, itself.  

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:36:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is historic. I haven't denied that. (0+ / 0-)

        And whether I set the bar too low will be easy to determine in the months and years to come.

        Why the program is worthy of respect, however, is beyond me.

        The effort to get it passed? Sure. That's worthy of some respect.  The program, which is basically a giant bone to the insurance and health industries? Eye of the beholder, I guess.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:47:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  ACA is the difference between life & death (0+ / 0-)

          for one whole helluva lot of people, cancer patients included.  

          The reason the design  of ACA has problems isn't because of Republicans, its because of the conservative Dems who fucked with it every inch of the way through Congress.The same Dems who hired an insurance company exec to design and implement it.

          Yes, the GOP is screwing with it now, but that's no excuse to play political games with it.  

          Flawed as it is, we Dems own it and a lot of people's lives depend on getting it implemented.  If you want their deaths on your hands, that's fine. I don't.

          If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:05:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Your "Americans are willing to hold their noses (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kefauver, msgeorgia blue nurse

      and live with the ACA" is not an accurate appraisal either. It is your appraisal and perhaps the appraisal of some on the Right and Left who have been arguing against the plan but certainly not all "Americans".

      I don't think it is the appraisal of those Americans who heretofore have not been able to get healthcare due to a preexisting condition. What did they face before the ACA? They faced the possibility of getting sick and dying.

      I don't think it is the appraisal of those Americans who had to endure caps on their health plans for decades. What did many of them do when confronted with a catastrophic illness? They went broke trying to pay for their coverage or faced dying trying.

      So, you criticize Joan for making an assessment of the polls based upon recent trend of growing approval, and you went right ahead and represented that your scornful dislike of the ACA is shared by "Americans" in general. This is not the case.

      For some time, starting with the passing of the ACA, there have been individuals on the Left against the ACA because in their estimation it didn't go far enough...some even argued way back in the beginning that the legislation be killed because it wasn't perfect enough. It didn't matter that the legislation would help tens of millions of people.

      Well, yes, the legislation does need improving and Democrats will be working to improve it, but, beyond this fact, the Democrats who run around telling people that they should hold their noes to stomach the plan are engaging in the same negative framing that many on the Right are engaged in...the majority of people in the nation are on their way to tuning out both of your voices as the legislation continue to help more and more people stay alive. Something that the "hold your nose to stomach the plan" criticizers on the Left and Right are unable to do.

      •  The polls indicate that most Americans agree with (0+ / 0-)

        me, but that doesn't make me right.

        So you'll know, I have never denied that ACA does some good things.  I am hoping it does some good things for my family.  I'm 60 years old, and I can tell you from experience that it doesn't take much to make insurance all but impossible to obtain when you get older. ACA still allows insurers to jack up the rates for older people -- regardless of their health -- but does put a cap at 3-1.  Add in subsidies from the exchanges, and a lot of people find their sitations improved. Ditto for those with pre-existing conditions.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:56:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Has anyone mentioned this to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kefauver, Matt Z

    Brian Williams and Lisa Meyers?  They might be able to stop hyperventilating, and Brian could go back to the Jersey shore for another update on his childhood.

  •  Kaiser roll with Butter nt (0+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:18:38 AM PDT

  •  Let's get the web site fixed (0+ / 0-)

    and stop wasting time on playing politics and pushing PR messages about ACA.

    Focus on making the program work instead of telling people it will work.  Prove it.  Get it done.

    If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:30:20 AM PDT

    •  I don't think Joan is a programer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, kefauver, bythesea

      She writes about politics and policy and whatever else.  

      I suppose she could endlessly whine about any problem with the law, big or small, but we've already got the GOP, the MSM, and a few select trolls right here to do that.
      Not you, but there a few people(see above) who have an almost Pavlovian need to make negative comments on every single ACA thread.  
      I expect them to deal with most of the website problems in another month, but that's already happening.  

      •  Sending the right message to DC (0+ / 0-)

        is as important as helping them sell their messages to the public.  I don't think anyone here wants to assume the role of covering for our own party leadership every time they screw up on something this important.  At some point we expect them to learn from these experiences and do a better job.

        If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:11:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  At some point (and it is starting) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, JBraden

    this will start showing the true benefits of this plan and when it does the Teapublican party will be facing a long slog in the mud. Of course, when that starts to happen watch for them to start in with claiming that they "Fixed" Obamacare. Just watch.

  •  Double-edged (0+ / 0-)

    The fact that only half the people are paying "close attention" to Obamacare's difficulty is not really something we should be celebrating if it's a matter of the story being too muddled.  Depending on who's talking, you can hear the optimistic view that it's getting better fast or the pessimistic view that there just aren't going to be enough healthy young people signing up for it to avoid a "death spiral".  And that's not even including the partisans who either want to save Obamacare or kill it.  

    I think we're underestimating the damage caused by the fact that we've lost a month of the Obamacare rollout to website failures.  There is still a good chance that the President himself will ask for a delay in the personal mandate and that there will be more serious problems down the road.

    It's hard for me to get too  giddy about what is basically a Heritage Foundation plan.  To me, adopting something that they came up with is not really a liberal victory.

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