May 3, 2017

JOSH BLACKMAN: Pre-Existing Contradictions.

There is a perverse contradiction about Obamacare’s most popular feature: people overwhelmingly support Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions, unless they understand that these protections increase the cost of insurance for people without preexisting conditions.

I discuss the results of a September 2009 Kaiser poll in Unraveled:

Under the Affordable Care Act, he said, “for insurance companies to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it the most.” By far, this was one of the most popular aspects of the ACA, if not the most popular provision. A September 2009 Kaiser survey found that 80% of respondents supported this ban – that included 88% of Democrats and 67% of Republicans. Among those supporters, however, only 56% still favored the provision if it resulted in higher premiums; 36% would oppose it. Supporters almost certainly did not realize that requiring insurers to cover sick people would necessarily shift the cost onto everyone else.

Eight years later, the numbers remain remarkably the same. According to a Cato/YouGov survey from March 2017, the support for the pre-existing condition ban flips when people recognize that it imposes costs on everyone else:

By a margin of 63% to 33%, Americans support the ACA’s community-rating provision that prevents health insurers from charging some customers higher rates based on their medical history. However, support flips with a majority opposed 60%-31% if the provision caused the quality of health care to get worse.

Majorities also come to oppose the ACA’s community-rating provision if it increased premiums (55% oppose, 39% favor), or raised taxes (53% oppose, 40% favor).

This divide resembles President Obama’s lie that people can keep the plans they like. Nothing is free.

Americans keep falling for the oldest scam in the world: That government spending is just other people’s money. In the end though, we’re all the other people.