Taking a large measure of control over the health insurance industry via Obamacare must have seemed like a dream-come-true to the left. But from a political perspective at least, this power grab is beginning to look like a nightmare.
An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year — mostly for the worse. 69 percent say their premiums are increasing; 59 percent say their annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.
11 percent say their plan is being discontinued. 14 percent say coverage for their spouse is being discontinued or curtailed. 18 percent say their plan will encompass fewer types of medical coverage.
Defenders of Obamacare will point out that the trend toward leaner coverage predates the law’s passage. Accordingly, they will argue that the adverse results reflected in the AP poll have not been caused by Obamacare.
But that’s not how those who are bearing the burden of the changes to their plans view the matter. 76 percent of these victims believe that the changes are the result of Obamacare. 61 percent say they are very or extremely sure of this.
Thus, the Democrats will take the hit for the adversity befalling those who have health insurance. This is true whether or not the insured are apportioning blame correctly.
It seems quite likely, moreover, that the insured are justified in blaming Obamacare for the deterioration of their insurance. It is true that many plans were cutting back before Obamacare was enacted. But the respondents in the AP survey know this — many have lived it.
Yet 61 percent of those facing adverse changes next year are sure that Obamacare is responsible for the changes. Their certainty probably stems from the fact that the current adversity significantly exceeds the pre-Obamacare norm.
Let’s remember too that, pre-Obamacare, people with health insurance overwhelmingly liked their insurance plans. That’s why Obama promised they could keep them. If plans were deteriorating at the rate they are now, people would not have expressed so much satisfaction with their pre-Obamacare coverage.
Finally, there is no denying that Obamacare places new burdens on insurance companies. Thus, it is to be expected that the industry will respond by shifting burdens to customers to the extent they can.
In any event, Democrats own the dissatisfaction so many feel over changes to their plans. They will also own much of the dissatisfaction that follows from changes in the quality of their health care when medical professionals opt out of networks and, eventually, some drop out of the profession.