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New polls by Gallup and Pew Research show important changes in Republican opinion in favor of Obamacare. Opinion is still upside down, but by only 8% in the Gallup poll, instead of the previous 19% in March. And we know why. It's helping Republicans. Democrats, of course, were already strongly in favor.

So if we take a linear trend line from Gallup's last two polls as our starting approximation, we get public opinion on this specific aspect of Obamacare going positive some time in May. We will not know until Gallup's next polls in May or June, unless some other company gets into it. Other measures more dependent on opinion and less on fact are likely to lag this one.

This could be as big an F'in deal (literally, in JoeBidenSpeak) as the first time Marriage Equality polled above 50% nationally, and never looked back. I need to unpack various elements of this story below. Also, I apologize to some Republicans who are susceptible to some kinds of fact, for lumping them in a few days ago with those who aren't.

There will be a confirmation hearing soon for HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell. Cue the crazy.

I don't like the new FiveThirtyEight from Nate Silver and ESPN. Where are the numbers? Where is the statistical analysis? Where are the facts? And especially, where are the ACA signups?

Amazingly, it turns out that brainwrap is not shilling for the Koch brothers, and can't believe he had to say that. I can't believe that I have to unpack that, too. He is back from his day at the zoo with his kid, and we have numbers again.

First off, my thanks and a hat tip to MotaMongrel, whose Diary Obamacare Winning the War noted this important shift in public opinion on Obamacare. But before we come to that, we have numbers and

No, I'm not actually a Koch Bros. shill (and I can't believe I had to say that)

Earlier today a friend of mine (Eclectablog...who, by the way, is also the head of the best blogging team in America, and who could use your help with his quarterly fundraiser at the moment) noted that there was an anti-ACA banner ad from the Koch Bros running at the bottom of this site earlier today.

His Tweet was intended as snark, of course, but at least a couple of people didn't appear to get the joke, and actually think this means I'm either hypocritical or some sort of 11th Dimensional Chess-playing Double Agent Mole working for the Koch Bros. Not sure how that would work, exactly, but whatever.

The truth is, I have little control over what ads run on this site.

I don't mind at all when the Koch brothers waste ad money. They are remarkably good at it.

Eclectablog (name of both site and site owner) is one of brainwrap's Web clients in Michigan, where brainwrap has been blogging the same numbers we have been savoring here, up until it got too crazy for brainwrap to keep up with the numbers and the blogging both. Supporting that site helps brainwrap get paid. Thanks, Eclectablog.

Dennis Pearl • 3 hours ago

It's a shame that Google doesn't allow a little more control. Anyways, today I noticed an anti-Koch brothers ad on the site so you are all square.

There is frequently high-quality snark in the comments at ACA Signups. Some comes from Kossacks following links from these Diaries, some comes from Eclectablog readers, and some comes from people who followed links in the media, from Paul Krugman, Sarah Kliff, and others. Welcome to whichever part of the conversation works for you, and thanks to all.

Numbers

Update #1

Estimated Exchange QHPs as of April 13, 2014: 7.68M
Can we finish another 320,000 in two and a half days? Difficult, but I wouldn't bet against it. Also, it is possible that we are way over 8 million already, and it just hasn't been reported.

For those who want to understand how my mind works

Really? I don't get it. Yes, I see that brainwrap is telling us that he can obsess over things that should have a simple explanation, but nobody knows what it is, until we do. And he is just the man to demand those answers.

So, brainwrap, how about those tetraquarks over at CERN, huh?

Minor but noteworthy: NJ already allowed kids to stay on parents plans up to 31 yrs old

Update #0

Reminder: The March HHS Report MAY claim 6.5M QHPs instead of 7.1M...for an obvious reason

They always go to the last Saturday of the month. In this case, that means lopping off the height of the surge, and not reporting it until well into May in the report for April.

MD: 58K OFF-Exchange, 53K ON-Exchange from 1 company; graph clarified

OK, I actually do have one update today (it's 8:30 at night and my kid is getting ready for bed).

When I first learned that Washington State's off-exchange total was a whopping 2.2x that of their exchange-based enrollments back on February 20th, I casually noted that if that held true nationally, it would make the off-exchange QHP tally easily 7.7M or higher…and this was back when the exchange QHPs were only around 3.5M.

That's a supposition. We need numbers.
However, it does show that there are now at least two states where the off-exchange total is higher than the exchange-based total enrollment number. Basically, this is just more evidence that the 7.8M figure is not only realistic, but may actually be lowballing the 3/31 total, since the Rand study only ran through around March 16 or so.

Assuming that the ratio of on-exchange to off-exchange enrollments ends up remaining around the same from March 17 - April 15 as it appears to have from last October - March 16, it's conceivable that we could be looking at an even higher total:

  • March 16 ON-Exchange QHPs: around 4.9M / OFF-exchange QHPs: (potentially) up to 7.8M
  • April 15 ON-Exchange QHPs: around 7.8M / OFF-exchange QHPs: (potentially) up to 12.4M
which is still a supposition. But it suggests some numbers to look for, since it does not include the largest insurance companies and HMOs, such as Aetna, United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, and more.

It just keeps getting better.

Now, about those polls…

First, it is essential to understand that the results of polling on health care are even more sensitive to the way questions are asked than usual. People, especially Republicans, hate Obamacare far more than the ACA, in spite of them being exactly the same thing, and most Republicans actually like the provisions of the ACA such as not being turned down for pre-existing conditions. We are looking at different questions here.

Gallup: Americans Remain Negative Toward Healthcare Law

Forty-three percent approve, 54% disapprove
As usual, the disapproval number includes those who want Single Payer, so Gallup's topline numbers do not mean what they appear at first glance to mean. Did you know that one of Nate Silver's boys, Harry Enten, is out deskewing that fact, too? At least readers are calling him out on it.

FiveThirtyEight.com: There Isn’t a Secret Majority Supporting Obamacare

And Nate still hasn't even put up a single number of ACA signups, or even mentioned brainwrap, much less given us an analysis. For shame.

We want something less ambiguous, like this graph from Gallup.

How will the healthcare law affect your family's healthcare situation? 2012-2014

You can see opinion bouncing up and down at the same time as notable events like coming up to Open Enrollment (up), the initial disasters at healthcare.gov and several state exchanges (down), the combination of fixes and workarounds along with Republican naysaying (sideways), and the triumphant attainment of 7.1 million Exchange signups, along with many millions signed up for health care in other ways (seriously up).

What we are particularly seeing now is that Open Enrollment is coming to a close, and it has not harmed most Americans in any way. Those who lost junk insurance got something better. A few had to pay more, but they are discovering that Republicans lied to them about rates going up, services being denied, the ACA cratering and taking the whole health care system with it, and all the rest. The big change in the graph above is people who feared some ill-defined disaster now realizing that they are unaffected, along with smaller numbers who see direct benefits.

The reality is that almost everybody who says they are unaffected actually benefits in a multitude of ways from improved quality of insurance, even if they are nominally on the same policy as before. But this is a survey of opinions about the facts, not a survey of facts themselves. It remains much more meaningful than surveys of opinions about opinions.

Now let's do that trivial linear model. This announcement came out on April 11. I don't have the date for the previous one, but we can pretend that it was on March 11, because it is one of a regular series of monthly surveys. That gives us a drop in the gap from 19% to 8%, that is, 11%, in 31 days. Now we are looking for a drop of another 8%, which would take 23 days at the same rate.

Of course, it won't be the same rate. Still, the extensions to Open Enrollment have three days to run (longer in just a few states), and we will continue to get positive numbers from them for weeks to come. We will continue to get mostly good news from Medicaid, CHIP, off-exchange enrollments, employer-paid plans, and the rest, and more Obamacare Saved My Life, My Pocketbook, and My Sanity stories.

The Republican spin and the media narrative have both changed away from repeal and disaster to recognizing success, at least in part. (Baby steps.) We have stopped seeing alleged Obamacare horror stories, as they became ever easier to debunk and garnered ever more Pinocchios and Pants on Fire. Most Americans still don't know who the Koch brothers are and what they are up to, but they are being comprehensively laughed at now every time they try something new.

The numbers from Pew reinforce those from Gallup.

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press: More Republicans See Health Care Stance as ‘Very Important’ to Midterm Vote

On balance, more also say the law has had a negative than positive impact on the country (43% vs. 30%). But negative views of the law’s impact on the country have declined (from 49%) – and positive views have risen (from 23%) – since December.

About a quarter (24%) say the law’s impact has been mostly negative while 17% say it has been mostly positive.

Thus we see a 7% gap, one point less than Gallup found.

Confirmation Hearing Coming

President Obama has nominated Sylvia Burwell of the White House Office of Management and Budget to run HHS and thus implement further actions on the ACA, such as the next Open Enrollment (starting in November after the elections), negotiating with states on fake Medicaid expansions (I get to say that because Indiana), and the new employer mandate.

Fox News: Republicans: Burwell confirmation hearings will be fair, but focused on ObamaCare

OK, you have contradicted yourself once.

“The question is will the next secretary put the interests of Americans first, or the policies of the president,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, told “Fox News Sunday.”

Scott made clear the hearings in his committee and Senate Finance Committee will be an opportunity to discuss yet-to-be-disclosed final ObamaCare enrollment figures and related issues, but said, “We’re going to keep the focus on the American people, not politics.”

Twice.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News on Friday the hearings will present “an ideal opportunity to examine the failures that are ObamaCare.”
Three strikes, you're out.

Homer Simpson, cornflakes on fire

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told Fox News on Sunday the hearings will be another opportunity for his party to tout [sic] ObamaCare success stories.

“This law has been immensely helpful to people across the country,” he said. “We can tell true stories, human stories.”

There you go. No date has been set for the popcorn. Hearing. Circus? Shall we liveblog C-SPAN?

Unless something more urgent comes up, I am going to get the Committee membership list and look up each Republican member's goofiest statement on Obamacare for tomorrow.

Originally posted to Mokurai on Sun Apr 13, 2014 at 12:48 PM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives.

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