Obamacare is more unpopular than ever

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The latest poll numbers are in for Obamacare, and they are worse than ever. Turns out the more people are exposed to the law, the less they like it. And more and more people are saying they are directly hurt, not helped, by the law. The latest numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Kaiser Family Foundation, which has done arguably the best and most consistent polling on the health-care law in the past four-plus years, found that public opinion on the law sank to a record low in July. More people than ever (53 percent) last month said they viewed the law unfavorably, an increase of 8 percentage points since June — one of the biggest opinion swings ever. As the foundation notes, more people seemingly made up their minds about the law last month. The rate of those without an opinion on the Affordable Care Act dropped from 16 percent in June to 11 percent in July.

So why the major shift? Byron York explains:

Rather than a shift among some identifiable group, Obamacare’s rising unpopularity seems to be a product of the simple fact that, several months into its implementation, more and more people are having personal experience with the law.

Kaiser asked respondents, “So far, would you say the health care law has directly helped you and your family, directly hurt you and your family, or has it not had a direct impact?” Fifteen percent said Obamacare has directly helped them, while 28 percent said it has directly hurt them, and 56 percent said it has had no effect.

The number who said Obamacare helped them ticked up one point in the last two months, while the number who said Obamacare hurt them went up four points. And the number who were not affected went down four points. That suggests Obamacare is directly touching more and more people — and hurting more than it helps.

Another bit of evidence supporting that conclusion came in the June poll from Kaiser, in which researchers asked, “Is your impression of the health care law based mainly on your own experience, what you’ve seen and heard on television, radio, and in newspapers, what you’ve learned from friends and family, or some other source?” The number of people who say their opinion of Obamacare is based on their personal experience is rising — 23 percent in February of this year, 26 percent in June. The number who say their opinion is shaped by what they’ve learned from friends and family is also growing — 18 percent in February, 22 percent in June. And the number who say their opinion is based on what they see in the media is shrinking: 44 percent in February, 37 percent in June.

So more and more, people are basing their opinion of Obamacare on their own experience [or the experiences] of those around them, and not on what they’ve seen on cable TV or heard on talk radio. And disapproval is going up.

As York notes, this is to some degree the consequence of Obamacare’s intentional design: helping a small group of uninsured people while hurting a larger number of currently insured people. Obama’s broken promise on increasing premiums and lost insurance plans hasn’t helped matters, nor will the coming discontent over individual mandate penalties at tax time.

It’s not hard to understand why Obamacare is increasingly unpopular. If it was working, it’d be more popular. But it isn’t, and it’s hard to see what will happen to make it significantly more popular in the future. This could get worse before it gets better.