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Obamacare Sees Miraculous Popularity Surge

Who says the age of miracles is over? Having endured years of public scorn, Obamacare is reputedly enjoying a sudden and timely increase in popularity. USA Today breathlessly reports a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF): “More people view the health law favorably than at any point in nearly seven years.” The story implies that the threat of repeal has succeeded where years of taxpayer-funded promotional campaigns failed — moving the needle on Obamacare’s favorability ratings. The KFF poll found that the percentage of adults with a positive view of the law has risen to an underwhelming 48 percent.

If that percentage seems lackluster, it is also inconsistent with the survey’s other findings. When asked if our medical delivery system is on the right track, for example, “Six in ten (62 percent) Americans say that when it comes to health care, things in this country have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” Oddly enough, none of the “news” outlets touting the poll mention this highly inconvenient datum — despite an impossible-to-miss KFF graph pointing it out. The USA Today story neglects to mention it, ABC ignores it, U.S. News & World Report fails to note it, and Time refuses to violate the media code of Omertà.

Nor do any of these paragons of journalistic integrity mention KFF’s finding that the percentage of Americans who favor repeal of Obamacare is statistically identical to the percentage who do not want Congress to deep-six it: “[T]he public remains divided on what they would like lawmakers to do when it comes to the 2010 health care law with 47 percent wanting lawmakers to vote to repeal the law compared to 48 percent who say they should not vote to repeal it.” All of the outlets named above — and countless others — cherry-picked a single positive finding and ignored anything that failed to fit the “increase in popularity” line.

The media don’t like it when President Trump talks about “fake news,” but what else could explain such glaring omissions? If fake news includes a deliberate and obviously concerted refusal to report important data in order to create a false impression about a public opinion survey, then the reporting about the KFF survey certainly qualifies. Indeed, it is remarkably reminiscent of the fake news reports that pervaded the media about the mythical sign-up surge that followed Trump’s November victory. Just after the election, a tsunami of stories like this one appeared touting such a surge. They turned out to be fictitious.

It will thus be very difficult for anyone capable of critical thinking to believe these very same “news” outlets when they report that a law whose approval numbers have been underwater by double digits for more than six years has suddenly become as popular as Adele. It will be likewise difficult for anyone with an IQ exceeding single digits to believe a Democrat polling firm like Public Policy Polling (PPP) when they claim to discover a sudden increase in public esteem for a Democrat-sponsored health “reform” law that has historically been reviled by the electorate. And yet that is precisely what a PPP claims to have discovered:

Obamacare continues to become more popular the more talk there is about repealing it. 46% of voters now say they support it to just 41% who are opposed. And only 33% of voters think the best course of action is for Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and start over, to 62% who think it would be better to keep it and fix the parts that need fixing.

Would you buy a used car from the author of this survey? No? Well, the PPP poll is just one among many surveys that have detected a tectonic shift in the public’s view of Obamacare. Just as trustworthy as PPP is the partnership between Politico and Morning Consult. They teamed-up to produce a poll that found the following: “The 2010 health care law is becoming more popular, even as it heads toward the chopping block.” Seem counterintuitive in light of rising premiums, outrageous deductibles, and the rapidly shrinking number of plans from which enrollees may choose in most of Obamacare’s “marketplaces”? Not to them:

In early January, before Trump took office, a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed only 41 percent of voters approved of the health care law, compared with 52 percent who disapproved. [However] a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows voters are now split evenly on the law. Forty-five percent of registered voters approve of the law, the poll shows, and 45 percent disapprove.

If the magnitude of this swing seems extravagant, it is a model of plausibility compared to the public opinion pirouette reported last week by the Pew Research Center. According to this poll: “With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record.” The folks at the Pew Research Center Pew would have us believe that the favorability percentages have gone from 46 percent approval versus 51 percent disapproval just before the presidential election to 54% approval versus 43% disapproval by the second week in February.

Ernest Hemingway famously said, “The essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, bulls–t detector.” The “reporters” of the legacy media have obviously turned off their BS detectors in order to repeat the kind of nonsense contained in the Pew survey. In its role as the Democratic Party’s PR department, the press is clearly colluding with partisan polling firms to convince weak-kneed Republicans to renege on their pledge to repeal Obamacare. But the law is just as unpopular as it has always been. And, any Republican who temporizes on repeal based on such transparent propaganda will require a miracle to remain employed.

David Catron
David Catron
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David Catron is a health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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