43 Percent of Americans Say They'll Blame Obamacare for Health Care Premium Increases or Plan Changes Next Year



Yesterday I argued that with Obamacare, Democrats have tied their political futures not only to the success of the health law, but to the broader American health system—and, consequently, to whatever cost and access problems it has. A Reason-Rupe poll released this morning supports this argument, finding that more Americans would blame the health care law than any other source for insurance plan changes or premium increases next year. From the poll:

If your health care plan changes, or if your insurance premiums increase in the next year, do you think you'll blame…

• The federal health care law……………. 43%

• The health insurance company………… 26%

• The economy…………………………………. 17%

• Your employer………………………………… 5%

• Other (VOL.) …………………………………… 4%

• Don't Know……………………………………… 4%

• Refused………………………………………….. 1%

• Total…………………………………………… 100%

Is this perfectly fair? Probably in some cases. In others, though, premium increases won't be directly or fully attributable to the health law.

But that's the point I was trying to make. The details almost don't matter, because with Obamacare, Democrats have essentially taken ownership of the American health system. So while I'm sure they'd like to take credit for all the bits that people like, and avoid blame for parts that people don't, that's not going to be the reality. They will get credit for some of the health law's benefits and other things people like, but they will also end up with a lot of the blame for things that people see as problems.

At the same time, the law has blunted the effectiveness of their usual response. Over the years, Democrats have tended to blame health insurers for premium increases and plan problems, but that approach won't work as well as it used to, because Americans now view Obamacare—and, it's probably safe to assume, the party that passed it—as having a bigger influence on their premiums and plan choices than the insurers. 

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  1. All* (above inflation) increases in insurance costs are attributable to the state. Whether its the ACA or the previous laws doesnt matter to me.

    *Maybe not all, but on net, all.

  2. related: 15-20 Percent Aren’t Paying Obamacare Premiums, Insurer Says

    One of the biggest players in Obamacare’s exchanges says 15 to 20 percent of its new customers aren’t paying their first premium?which means they’re not actually covered.

    The latest data come from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members?known collectively as “Blues” plans?are participating in the exchanges in almost every state. Roughly 80 to 85 percent of people who selected a Blues plan through the exchanges went on to pay their first month’s premium, a BCBSA spokeswoman said Wednesday.

    The new statistics, particularly from such a large carrier, help define how many people are actually getting covered under the Affordable Care Act.

    obviously more fake right-wing talking points.

    1. So if 20% don’t pay at all and some other percent are sick and their premiums won’t cover the cost of their care, isn’t that a death spiral?

      1. Not necessarily. If you don’t pay, you aren’t in that insurance pool, so you just don’t count toward that pool’s risk.

        Where the non-payment is likely to damage the pool’s risk profile has to do with the demographics of the folks who don’t pay. If they are disproportionately young and/or healthy, then your pool contracts to an older/sicker pool. That’s the first step in a death spiral.

        Not to worry, though. Obama and the insurance companies are working out a deal right now where they don’t raise premiums much next year (which would be step two in a death spiral) and Obama bails out their losses with tax money.

        1. Yeah. the people who are going to cost a lot are going to be the ones who pay.

    2. I blame the evil insurance companies for refusing coverage for something as trivial as non-payment. There oughta be a law.

      1. Did you know that the federal call centers are directing people who complain about their coverage having been cancelled for nonpayment, to file complaints with their state insurance commissioners?

        Another sign that the Feds are really, truly, clueless.

  3. I wish “George Bush” were an option. Of course, deciphering if it was trolling or genuinely twisted logic that would bring a portion of people answering that way would be tough, but it’d be good for the lulz.

  4. I blame Andrew Cuomo for my premium increases.

    He pushed for state employees to go from 25% to 32% contribution rate. Combined with the regulatory changes and the plan modifications to be ‘compliant’, it raised my outlay by 150% (all changes combined). What was wrong with the generally universal 25% Employee contribution rate?

    1. But you only suffered a 22% or so increase from the change in contribution. the other 130% is from the fucking mandates that you pay for everyone’s birth control and such. I think that is the bigger issue.

      1. Yes, I know, but I wanted to give an answer not on the survey.

        Besides, he was the one who refused to let the plans stay in the grandfathered state.

  5. “If your health care plan changes, or if your insurance premiums increase in the next year, do you think you’ll blame…”

    Tony blames libertarians, individual rights, and capitalism in that order.

    He’d probably blame his employer, but I’m not sure he has one–unless it’s the government or he’s in a union. Can you imagine anyone else keeping someone with such a shitty attitude on the payroll for very long?

    1. yes, only because it’s near impossible to fire someone. My wife fired someone a few months ago. after about 3 years of documenting the problem, multiple “second chances” etc.

    2. Why would they fire him? He seems to be doing *exactly* what they pay him to do.

  6. So 57% are still dumb enough that they’d probably vote for Obo again. Pathetic.

    1. That was my take-away, too.

  7. And this is before the real pain begins. Good thing the SETTLED LAW OF THE LAND has been waivered, delayed and stalled past the midterms!

  8. It isn’t surprising that 80-85% paid up immediately. With Life
    Insurance, it’s 100% … but agents tell me that within two years,
    nearly 50% have stopped paying their premiums. I think we’ll see a steady erosion of premium payers once the folks decide that vacation in Cancun or a visit to the gambling dens in Vegas sounds better than paying a monthly premium when one doesn’t feel sick.

    1. I think that’s right. Then they can always sign up again at the next open enrollment, when they need coverage.

      This was the pattern in Massachusetts under Romneycare, people paying just long enough to get services, then dropping coverage until the next time they needed services. You can imagine that this really screws with the risk pool.

  9. So no one is interested in the fact that demographics are skewing towards old age? The society is aging, and that drives up care and treatment rates. Its always someone elses fault, but in the case of insurance, its just demographics. Time to not replace knees and hips and take out cataracts and treat diabetes and…….and then rates will decrease.

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