The sweeping health overhaul law turns 2 years old this Friday. And as it heads toward a constitutional showdown at the Supreme Court next week, the debate over the measure remains almost as heated as the day President Obama signed it into law.
In fact, public opinion about the law remains divided along partisan lines to almost exactly the same extent it was when the law was signed on March 23, 2010, according to the latest monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Democrats mostly like the measure. Republicans mostly hate it.
Michael Cannon, an opponent of the law who works for the libertarian Cato Institute, says he's not a bit surprised that its popularity hasn't grown as many Democrats predicted it would.
"Even if this law was written exactly as its supporters would have liked, you still can't put lipstick on this pig," he says. "The law just takes too much from too many people to be popular with the American public."
Opponents of the law say the main reason for that is the so-called individual mandate, which requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a fine starting in 2014.
"There was something fundamentally different about trying to jam the individual mandate down the throats of the American people," says Tom Miller, another opponent of the law from the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Even people who had insurance, who were buying it — it just didn't resonate with their core gut instincts and larger values and history."
But supporters say the reason the law hasn't won more love is considerably more complicated.
Princeton sociology professor and health care watcher Paul Starr says part of the problem that so much of the law hasn't taken effect yet. "They're only really going to become aware of the specifics of the legislation as we get close to the point where there's enrollment in health plans and where people actually see how the health insurance exchanges actually work and how the subsidies work," he says.
And there's another big factor in the the lack of support — a lot of people who might like the law misunderstand what it actually requires.
For example, in a March 2011 poll, Kaiser (like most other groups polling on the subject) found that two-thirds of respondents said they opposed the individual mandate. But when it was explained that simply having employer-provided insurance would satisfy that requirement and that most employers were expected to continue to provide such coverage, opposition dropped to 35 percent.
"Probably 95 percent of the voting public either meet the individual requirement or are exempt from it," says Chris Jennings, a former health aide to President Bill Clinton and a supporter of the new law. "Why aren't these messages coming through better than they obviously are?"
It probably doesn't help that the Obama administration has been spending more effort trying to put the law into effect than working to dispel some of the myths about it.
"I don't think that was our primary job," says Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House deputy chief of staff and one of the key administration architects of the health law. "I really think our primary job was making sure that the changes that are happening to our insurance system were implemented in a careful, deliberate, transparent fashion."
DeParle blames the misperceptions — particularly about the pivotal individual mandate — on the law's many political opponents. She says, "The fact is for the vast majority of Americans they'll just check a box that says, 'Yes, I have insurance. '"
But the administration's lack of messaging, not to mention the political polarization around the law, has frustrated some of the law's other supporters.
"What messaging?" asks John Rother, who runs the nonpartisan National Coalition on Health Care. "I think the problem with something that's this controversial is it's always much easier to criticize it is than to defend it. And given that, I think the advocates for the legislation have been missing in action."
Princeton's Starr says there's another reason that opponents of the measure outnumber supporters. The entire structure of the law — preserving a private insurance system with an individual insurance requirement — was originally aRepublican idea. "The president and Democrats adopted that approach in the hope of getting moderate support," Starr says.
Yet Republicans have unanimously turned against it. And they're not the only ones.
"Many liberals were never enthusiastic about it to begin with," says Starr. And that shows up in the polls. "Many of the people who are unfavorable are actually unfavorable from the left and are unhappy about the law, because it isn't a single-payer national health insurance plan."
That may be yet another reason why President Obama spends a lot more of his time on the campaign trail these days talking to his Democratic supporters about things other than healthcare.
Healthcare for All/Single Payer -
Canadians don’t drop dead or delay care due to the lack of health insurance. However in America, thousands will continue to face death according to Harvard researchers. About 25 million people will still not have insurance under Obamacare. Those that do, have seen their rates rise and contrary to the promise that “you can keep your existing plans” bullshit, working people with existing coverage and the poor will see rates not only increase, but will continue to pay a greater share of their income for health care than the wealthy...
Steven Maiken | Daily Sundial 16 Feb 2014 Hits:537 HCA Articles
Lawmakers have begun looking at how to finance a single-payer health care system that Gov. Peter Shumlin hopes will be his crowning achievement.
Shumlin, a second-term Democrat, wants to launch a universal, publicly financed health care system known as Green Mountain Care in 2017. He has repeatedly told lawmakers that the financing plan to support the system, which his administration has estimated will cost $1.6 billion in its first year, will be revealed next January.
But Sen. Peter Galbraith, a Democrat from Windham County, says the governor’s date is too late. He’s...
Staff | Times Argus 20 Jan 2014 Hits:242 HCA Articles
A government-run health care system in Maine would provide universal coverage to residents, cut down on administrative costs and free businesses from the complexities of providing insurance for their employees, supporters of a single-payer model said Thursday.
Advocates of a single-payer system have long been trying to implement the model in Maine with little success, but said they are hopeful that the steps Vermont officials have recently made to spearhead the effort there can help make it a reality in Maine.
"Our current health care system is complicated, is inefficient, unfair and...
Associated Press | Maine Sun Journal 20 Jan 2014 Hits:230 HCA Articles
As the rollout of Obamacare clunks forward, activists who opposed the law from the beginning say it is time to seize the moment, to tear down the current health-care edifice and start anew, especially now as frustration with the law’s implementation is reaching a peak.
These are not Tea Party activists but advocates for a single-payer health-care system who say some of the problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act—in addition to built-in problems with the law itself—have made the American public more receptive than ever to a Medicare-for-all...
David Freedlander | Daily Beast 10 Dec 2013 Hits:1569 HCA Articles
The Affordable Care Act continues to plow ahead, despite Republican attempts to fight it at every turn. What is unfolding in front of us is nothing short of spectacular. The problems with healthcare.gov are slowly being resolved which is helping more and more people sign up for affordable healthcare, many for the first time in their life. The law provides so much more than that, including standards for even the lowest level plans, protections for young adults 26 and younger, and the elimination of pre-existing plans. Of course, you will...
Salvatore Aversa | Truth Out 08 Dec 2013 Hits:1431 HCA Articles
Former CMS administrator Don Berwick is running for Governor in Massachusetts. He has an uphill battle in the ever growing primary for the Democratic nominee. Yet his controversial tenure in DC, his pursuit of the Corner Office in the state that birthed RomneyCare (a state that is home to some of the best medical research institutions in the world), and his devoted following on the left — all grant extra weight to his comments on healthcare.
Berwick’s campaign released his platform on healthcare for the Bay State last week. Even with little detail,...
Josh Archambault | Forbes 08 Dec 2013 Hits:422 HCA Articles
It's no secret that the rollout for Healthcare.gov has been somewhat of a bumpy road. Technical glitches have caused delays for folks looking to obtain insurance, and frustrated those working hard to provide coverage options for all Americans for the first time in this nation's history. While the kinks get repaired, much of the criticism has been beyond comprehension. Is it okay to highlight website problems? Yes. Is it okay to push the president to get these tech issues resolved quickly? Absolutely. But when did having website problems become the...
Rev. Al Sharpton | Huffington Post 18 Nov 2013 Hits:417 HCA Articles
In my recent column in The Hill titled Obama's health care Katrina I took President Obama to task -- proudly -- for spending years telling Americans they would keep their insurance policies when he knew millions of Americans could not. I called for a solution to help these people and I called on progressives including myself to lead the fight to help them. And now, even more, it is time to do what really needs to be done and fight like hell for a public option, for Medicare for all,...
Brent Budowsky | Huffington Post 17 Nov 2013 Hits:889 HCA Articles
Whenever scandal arises in Washington, D.C., the fight between the two parties typically ends up being a competition to identify a concise message in the chaos—or, as scientists might say, a signal in all the noise. This week confirms that truism, as glitches plagued the new Obamacare website and as insurance companies cancelled policies for many customers on the individual market.
Amid the subsequent noise of congressional debate and cable TV outrage, Republicans argued that the signal is about government—more specifically, they claim the controversies validate their age-old assertions that government...
David Sirota TruthDig 17 Nov 2013 Hits:862 HCA Articles
WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday approved legislation that would allow health insurance companies to renew individual insurance policies and sell similar policies to new customers next year even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits and consumer protections required by the new health care law.
The vote was 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats bucking their party leadership to vote in favor of the bill.
The legislation would go further than the fix announced on Thursday by Mr. Obama,...
Robert Pear and Ashley Parker 15 Nov 2013 Hits:406 HCA Articles
Holding signs demanding “Expand Medicaid Now,” about 60 people, including state legislators, medical professionals, clergy and health advocates gathered Thursday in Charlotte to ask the state’s Republican leaders to reverse their position and accept expansion of Medicaid benefits for the poor.
“Today I am making a 911 call to Gov. (Pat) McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly,” said state Rep. Carla Cunningham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.
She and fellow Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle have asked McCrory to convene a special legislative session to reconsider the earlier decision to reject Medicaid...
Karen Garloch | Charlotte Observer 01 Nov 2013 Hits:403 HCA Articles
As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they're a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model.
The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation's first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals.
The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are...
Dave Gram | The Huffington Post 27 Oct 2013 Hits:514 HCA Articles
PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine nurses group on Monday said President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which is criticized by conservatives as overreaching, doesn’t go far enough toward universal health coverage.
The Maine State Nurses Association held Monday afternoon health screenings and an evening “town hall” event at the First Parish Church on Congress Street in Portland to advocate for the expansion of the federal Medicare program to cover all Americans, regardless of age.
The organization is planning to hold a second wave of screenings and another town hall event Tuesday afternoon...
Seth Koenig | Bangor Daily News 15 Oct 2013 Hits:640 HCA Articles
Did you happen to see Jimmy Kimmel’s interesting skit last week, where he asked people on the street whether they preferred “Obamacare” or the “Affordable Care Act”? Far too many people chose the “Affordable Care Act” over “Obamacare” without realizing that they are one and the same law.
Even worse, several of Kimmel’s interviewees rejected “Obamacare” after having already endorsed major pieces of it! Some of this cluelessness is no doubt because of propaganda. Some of it is no doubt because of partisan dislike of the president. But we must not...
Rev. Jesse Jackson | Chicago Sun Times 08 Oct 2013 Hits:630 HCA Articles
Despite critics slamming "Obamacare" – the first major U.S. health-care reform passed in nearly 50 years – as "Canadian-style" health insurance, critics note that major differences between the two systems persist.
McGill University Professor of Political Science Antonia Maioni said the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which went into effect earlier this week, is "not even close" to the Canadian system.
"Obamacare keeps in place the basic principle of health care in the United States which is: if you want to get access to care you need to buy insurance coverage," she told...
CTVNews.ca Staff 06 Oct 2013 Hits:719 HCA Articles
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.
(Claretha Briscoe, left, of Hollandale, Miss., with family. She earns too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get subsidies on the new health exchange./James Patterson for The New...
Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff | The New York Times 03 Oct 2013 Hits:675 HCA Articles
Donna Smith: “The fact remains that we all have bodies and we all will someday get sick or hurt; all of us will need some level of health care.”
Through all the rhetoric, the misinformation, the lack of information, the cheering and the nay-saying, and the threats and realities of government shutdowns that surrounds the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one thing remains certain: individuals will begin enrolling for health insurance at state exchanges starting on October 1, 2013. Whatever else people may think the ACA is or isn’t, it remains this country’s...
Joanne Boyer | Wisdom Voices 02 Oct 2013 Hits:668 HCA Articles
Last week I wrote about Trader Joe's decision to cut health insurance benefits for employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week. After that, one reader forwarded along a response received from Trader Joe's after inquiring about the matter. It's one of the more thorough explanations I've seen from a company cutting in benefits, so I've posted it here. It acknowledges, surprisingly bluntly, that some employees will be worse off for the decision and that others might benefit. Here is the full response:
Thank you for writing to us. It's...
Sarah Kliff | Washington Post 17 Sep 2013 Hits:1375 HCA Articles
On the national stage, the ILWU pullout casts a shadow over the AFL-CIO’s efforts to reassemble the House of Labor.
In 2005, seven unions—spearheaded by SEIU and the newly-merged UNITE HERE—formed a rival federation, Change to Win. The new alliance pledged to spend 75 percent of its resources organizing the unorganized.
But the fanfare was short-lived. A bitter internal struggle gripped SEIU in 2008, leading to a trusteeship of its third-largest local, and the union subsequently went to war with its long-time ally UNITE HERE.
The 250,000-member UNITE HERE left Change to Win...
Mark Brenner | Labor Notes 09 Sep 2013 Hits:436 HCA Articles
The American health care system, even before the Affordable Care Act was passed, can be quite complicated, and it's easy for American consumers to get confused. The Democratic reform law offers terrific new benefits to the uninsured, and obviously strengthens health security for those who already have insurance, but it doesn't necessarily make the system less complex.
The architects of "Obamacare" anticipated this and planned accordingly. In recent months, the Obama administration has partnered with dozens of local organizations nationwide to hire "navigators." As the name implies, these are folks who've...
Steve Benen | Maddow Blog 05 Sep 2013 Hits:526 HCA Articles
PDA is and will always be in the forefront, fighting to achieve universal access to care. Whether we call it single-payer, improved and expanded Medicare for all, universal care, or health care human rights, achieving access to a single standard of high quality care for all without financial barrier is our ultimate goal. Building momentum is our mission. From the inception of our Healthcare Not Warfare campaign several years ago, PDA has been a leader in the movement for health care justice.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was and...
Donna Smith 19 Aug 2013 Hits:302 HCA Articles
Economist says Canadian-style, single-payer health plan would reap huge savings from reduced paperwork and from negotiated drug prices, enough to pay for quality coverage for all – at less cost to families and businesses
Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.
That’s the chief...
Physicians for a National Health Plan 16 Aug 2013 Hits:667 HCA Articles
When I speak to conservatives about health care policy, I’m often asked the question: “Do you think that Obamacare is secretly a step toward single-payer health care?” I always explain that, while progressives may want single-payer, I don’t think that Obamacare is deliberately designed to bring about that outcome. Well, yesterday on PBS’ Nevada Week In Review, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was asked whether his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system. His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
In one sense, this isn’t shocking. Reid and...
Avik Roy | Forbes 15 Aug 2013 Hits:630 HCA Articles
Let's talk about health care. I don't mean debating the Affordable Care Act. I mean health care, as in: If everyone needs health care, guarantee that everybody gets it.
I know, when it comes to health care, it's easy to get into a debate for or against Obamacare. But we nurses see the world through a different lens: our patients.
Good health care is a fundamental resource that keeps America's big engine running. Every day, as we do our best to care for our patients, nurses see people with chronic disease like...
Deborah Burger | Huffington Post 12 Aug 2013 Hits:380 HCA Articles
In the Appalachian foothills of Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta, the riverfront city of Rome serves as a regional hub for health care. Near Rome’s tree-lined historic downtown, there are two well-equipped acute care hospitals with a total of more than 530 beds. Two years ago, the Medical College of Georgia opened a satellite campus in the city.
But in Rome, 27 percent of adults under 65 are uninsured, a rate that holds true across the state. Last year, the city’s two hospitals report spending more than $80 million delivering...
Keith Griffith | Equal Voice 04 Aug 2013 Hits:916 HCA Articles
Millions of Americans are deep in medical debt. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will throw a lifeline to very few. According to the Congressional Budget Office, even after health reform is fully implemented in 2014, 30 million to 36 million people will remain uninsured. And tens of millions who do have insurance will have coverage that is too limited to ensure financial protection against an expensive illness. Many families will remain just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.
In 2001, we began studying medical bankruptcy along with our colleagues Elizabeth...
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., and Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H. | PNHP 18 Jun 2013 Hits:586 HCA Articles
Immigrants don’t just pick our fruit, deliver our take-out food and design our computers — they pay for our medical care.
As Congress debates immigration reform, some would have us believe that immigrants are draining the Treasury. But it turns out that closing the borders would deplete Medicare’s trust fund.
We, along with colleagues at Harvard Medical School, studied who pays into the Medicare trust fund vs. who uses Medicare coverage. As we report in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs, over a seven-year period, immigrants paid in $115.2 billion...
Steffie Woolhander and David U. Himmelstein | Roll Call 18 Jun 2013 Hits:449 HCA Articles
After spending 25 years in the health care field, most of it related to making hospitals more efficient and effective, I have become skeptical of many of Washington’s reform efforts, especially by my party, the GOP.
One of the biggest problems with health care is escalating, uncontrolled expenditures, taking a larger and larger proportion of our GNP. However, what Rep. Paul Ryan and the GOP want to talk about is the federal budget and cost-shifting via Medicare and Medicaid.
Experts in health care economics differ on many things. But one thing they...
Jack Bernard | Charlotte Observer 11 Jun 2013 Hits:597 HCA Articles
Donna Smith, Executive Director of Health Care for All Colorado, can be heard during an interview session where questions were asked by the moderator during the first half. And, then by the audience in the second half. Her visit to Fort Collins was sponsored by Health Care for All Colorado Northern Colorado Chapter on April 3, 2013. These interviews were created by the Tim Caffrey Show for a local TV channel in Fort Collins.
During the first half of the evening she was asked several questions by Tim Caffrey, from Northern...
Ann Molinson | Healthcare For All Colorado 09 Jun 2013 Hits:573 HCA Articles
As Congress mulls changing America’s border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare’s finances, because they contribute tens of billions a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services.
“Immigrants, particularly noncitizens, heavily subsidize Medicare,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs. “Policies that reduce immigration would almost certainly weaken Medicare’s financial health, while an increasing flow of immigrants might bolster its sustainability.”
The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which pays for Medicare’s Part A inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities, home health and hospice for the...
Jordan Rau | Kaiser Health News 31 May 2013 Hits:497 HCA Articles
Dr. Bill HonigmanCalifornia
Contact us at:email@example.com
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Listen to this month's call as we discuss what we want to take to Winslow, how we move bills at the House and Senate level, as well as what to do at the state level.
Listen to the preview of what will be talked about at Winslow, how this team will be changing it's approach, and the discussion by the team about how we move the cause forward for Single Payer. Strategy in relation to targeting congressional...
Special guests on call: Michael Milligan, the author of and actor in the Mercy Killers, and Cindy Young, Community Organizer for National Nurses United and Campaign for a Healthy California. Michael speaks about the Mercy Killers and his impetus...
Listen to guest speakers Joel Segal, the Former Special Assistant to Rep. John Conyers for Health Care Policy and Donna Smith, the Chair of the PDA Healthcare NOT Warfare Campaign. Mr. Segal reports on work to elevate Single Payer in North Carolina,...
Listen to the recap of the just concluded Healthcare NOW! national strategy conference and about the receipt of the Marilyn Clement Healthcare Justice Award by PDA2019s own Tim Carpenter. Also covered are the National Call in Day for HR 676,...
This month was a strategic planning call. Topics on the agenda will include news on the single payer front from the office of Senator Bernie Sanders, an update on DUH! Eastern and The Healthcare Movie Tour, a recap of the September PDA Progressive...