Most Americans, about 54 percent, don't think Obamacare has had much of an effect on themselves or their families one way or another. But amongst those who do, far more believe the effect is negative than positive, according to a new Gallup poll.
The survey finds that 27 percent of Americans believe the law has hurt them. That figure has grown from 19 percent since the beginning of the year, when the law's major coverage expansion provisions kicked in. As the law takes hold, in other words, people find themselves negatively affected by it.
Now, it's also true that the number of people who say they have been helped by the law has grown this year, from 10 percent to 16 percent. But those survey numbers suggest where the greater impact is, and why the law's overall poll numbers continue to be negative, with 41 percent approving of the law and 53 percent disapproving, according to Gallup.
You can see the kind of impact the law is having just by looking at the news. Walmart is dropping health plans for about 30,000 part-time workers, about 5 percent of its workforce, according to the Associated Press. Target, Home Depot, and other big retailers have made similar moves. The retail giant isn't specifically citing Obamacare as the cause. But it's almost certainly a factor. As the AP notes:
The announcement comes after Wal-Mart said far more U.S. employees and their families are enrolling in its health care plans than it had expected following rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which requires big companies to offer coverage to employees working 30 hours or more a week or face a penalty.
Combine this with so many other recent reports about the law—reports noting, among other things, that tens or hundreds of thousands more plans will be cancelled this year, that many of the plans offered through the law rely on narrow provider networks, that its various waivers and tax provisions are expected to be enormously complicated (at best) for many families over the coming year, that emergency room usage is up in states that participate in the law's Medicaid expansion, that there are security flaws in the exchange technology (which still isn't finished)—and it's not hard to see why, even with the significant expansion of health coverage under the law, more people think the law has hurt them than helped, why the law's overall poll numbers remain low, and why, even amongst Democratic politicians, ostensibly the law's political base, there is a clear wariness about voicing support for the law.