When the Affordable Care Act was established, the primary goal of the Act was to ensure all Americans had affordable healthcare. The concepts of subsidies and marketplaces were designed to connect the uninsured with an easy online shopping experience that enabled them to choose health insurance and, for those that were eligibly, to offer subsidies to make the plans affordable. However just days after the reopening of the marketplaces for the second open enrollment period, the prevailing sentiment from the uninsured is that the plans offered are too expensive.
Out of the people surveyed in the uninsured group, about 49 percent plan to get health insurance in the coming months through the exchanges. Within this 49 percent, as many as one fourth of the participants felt that they needed health insurance, and that was the primary reason for getting it. On the other hand, 41 percent of individuals thought that they would remain uninsured in the coming months. Out of this 41 percent, nearly 25 percent felt that they would not be able to find an affordable plan on the exchanges, and would have to go uninsured through the coming year.
There were some other disturbing revelations in the poll that exposed the gaps in Obamacare’s outreach. For instance, even after strong marketing and community events, almost 90 percent of the surveyed were not aware of the starting date of the second open enrollment period. From the uninsured group, almost 80 percent felt that they need health insurance, but only 62 percent felt that having health insurance was absolutely essential for them.
This trend corroborates the fact that, unlike last year, it will be harder for the Obama Administration to have the same enrollment success. Last year, the exchanges were able to enroll 8 million people, even after the initial failure of the exchanges. The window of enrollment was 6 months long. This time, however, the window is cut in half, with only 3 months available. It is imperative for the Obama Administration to inform more people, as it seems that not everyone is onboard with the details about Obamacare and how they can benefit from the law. Furthermore, people who really wanted the affordable health insurance the most probably enrolled last year, and the remaining uninsured are either not interested in the law or not aptly informed.
Although these polls were limited to determine the outreach and impact of the events conducted by the Obama Administration to inform the public about the second open enrollment, there were some other discoveries which showed that the average American is still not certain whether Obamacare has made a huge difference in their quality of life. In fact, 24 percent respondents felt that their families have been hurt due to the rollout of the law, while 16 percent felt that they have benefitted from the law. In terms of outlook toward the law, 37 percent people favored the law; while 46 percent viewed it unfavorably.
As Republicans take over the Senate, it is unsure what impact will be made to the ACA. With 29 percent favoring a repeal, 17 percent think that it would be best to control some aspects of the law and scale it back. On the positive side, 20 percent people feel that it is better to allow the law to take its course, while 22 percent feel that the law should be allowed to expand. With Republicans gathering power in both the houses, it will be tough for the Obama Administration to keep the law with its most important aspects intact. If the Obama Administration does not motivate enough uninsured to get health insurance in this enrollment period and change the public outlook by Feb 15, it could be a tough 2015 ahead for Obamacare.