Study Finds An Overwhelming Number Of Republicans Are Happy With Their Obamacare Plans

The Tea Party Express March On Washington

The “idea” of Obamacare remains a political minefield, but Obamacare itself – that is to say, the actual health insurance Americans are now receiving – is popular with just about everybody.

That is the takeaway from a new poll from the Commonwealth Fund which sought to disentangle the political opposition to the Affordable Care Act from the actual real effects of it.

The survey asked Americans (both Democrats and Republicans) how satisfied they were with their new health insurance and the results were surprising:

Overall, 73 percent of people who bought health plans and 87 percent of those who signed up for Medicaid said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their new health insurance.

Those high numbers might be a tough pill to swallow for conservative pundits and lawmakers who have insisted for years now that Obamacare is a disaster and people absolutely hate it. Now it seems that their doom and gloom analysis was premature and more than a tad disingenuous.

Even more surprisingly, when you drill down deeper into the numbers and see how people from each political party responded, you find that even Republicans are smitten with the resulting care they received:

Seventy-four percent of newly insured Republicans liked their plans. Even 77 percent of people who had insurance before — including members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year — were happy with their new coverage.

The survey also points out that the number of people getting coverage for the first time has never been higher. Obamacare, which sought to insure nearly every American, seems to be working towards that goal.

The survey’s findings have stunned even supporters of the law. Given how new the law is, nobody expected people to find so much to love so quickly. Larry Levitt, the senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, another research group, told The New York Times that he’s blown away by the results.

The law’s requirement that Americans obtain insurance always made him wonder whether people would be glad to have insurance if they felt forced to buy it. “It’s possible people may have felt coerced into buying coverage, even if they didn’t like it or didn’t feel it was a good value,” he said in an email. “That doesn’t seem to be happening so far.”

The survey comes at an interesting moment, because just last month a Pew Research poll found that Obamacare (again the “idea” of it) is still deeply unpopular. Just over half of all respondents said they opposed the new healthcare laws. That is a bizarre finding given people’s nearly universal satisfaction with their plans. It can only be explained by the breathless way Republican lawmakers have been attacking Obama and the ACA.

While Republicans conceded that they actually approve of how their insurance has been working so far, they still want to paint it as a disaster. That is unfortunate, because it appears that the negativity surrounding the law is the only thing standing between the remaining uninsured and the states who don’t want to cover them.

It should never be forgotten that the number of people getting coverage would be much higher but 24 (nearly all conservative-led) states have steadfastly refused to expand Medicaid coverage leaving roughly 6 million Americans within a coverage gap. Many of these states cling to the notion that Obamacare will eventually be repealed if they can just win an election or two. That idea is little more than fantasy, but like cartoon characters running in the air past the edge of a cliff, they hope that the myth will keep them going so long as they don’t look down and acknowledge how far they’ve strayed from the safety of reality.

This latest survey is one more tug from gravity. Republicans who wish to keep opposing the healthcare law probably won’t like the idea that people are pleased with their insurance, it gets in the way of the narrative that Obamacare is terrible and – worse – makes it look as if they wasted years of voters time and shut down the government over a law that, on the whole, isn’t too bad. Now THAT would be a disaster.