Key Findings:

  • Health care is one of the top four issues mentioned by voters when asked which issues they most want to hear candidates discuss in the campaign, but half as many cite health care as mention the economy and jobs.
  • When asked specifically what health care issues voters would most like to hear the presidential candidates discuss, the 2010 health care law (ACA) and health care costs top the list.
  • Overall ratings of the ACA lean negative this month, with 38 percent saying they have a favorable view and 49 percent saying they have an unfavorable view.
  • The percentage of Democrats who have an unfavorable opinion of the law increased 6 percentage points from last month. Of the Democrats who did not express a favorable opinion, 40 percent want to expand what the law does.

The public’s views of the Affordable Care Act, which were evenly divided following the Supreme Court’s ruling last summer upholding a key section of the law, are again more negative than positive. Currently, 44% approve of the 2010 health care law, compared with 54% who disapprove of the law.

. . .

Even before President Obama leaves office, ObamaCare has begun unraveling.

The law was passed over the objections of a majority of Americans, it is still opposed by a majority of Americans — and their opposition has been vindicated. Last week, UnitedHealth Group announced that, after estimated losses of more than $1 billion for 2015 and 2016 under ObamaCare, the company was pulling out of most of its ill-fated exchanges. In fact, commercial insurers across the country are hemorrhaging money on ObamaCare at alarming rates.

The president promised these insurers taxpayer bailouts if they lost money, but Congress in its wisdom passed legislation barring the use of taxpayer dollars to prop up the insurers. Without the bailouts, commercial insurers are being forced to eat their losses — while more than half of the ObamaCare nonprofit insurance cooperatives created under the law failed.

. . .

Based on the data included in this report, it is clear that health insurance premium costs have continued to grow despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Furthermore, health care premium costs are rising at a rate comparable to the years directly preceding the election of President Obama and passage of the Affordable Care Act. As costs continue to rise, millions of families will face tough financial choices and make even more sacrifices. For those who have experienced little to no increase in wages, health insurance may simply become unaffordable and the prospect of paying a tax penalty may become another unwanted reality.

For those who have enrolled in new health insurance plans on the exchanges, recent premium increases have been even worse. And in 2016, deductibles have gone up for those very same individuals. Worst of all, the outlook for 2017 is no brighter. As University of Minnesota scholar Stephen Parente’s research estimates, each type of health care plan on the exchanges can expect to see a premium increase, with the average increase being 7.3 percent for families and 11 percent for individuals.

The so-called “Cadillac Tax” is a 40 percent excise tax on the value of employer-sponsored health coverage that exceeds certain benefit thresholds, estimated to be approximately $10,800 for employee-only plans and $29,100 for family plans when the tax takes effect in 2020.

While the name may imply the tax applies to a few individuals with luxury health coverage, the truth is it extends much further. 175 million Americans – including retirees, low- and moderate-income families, public sector employees, small business owners and the selfemployed – currently depend on employer-sponsored health coverage and they are all at risk.

On behalf of the American Benefits Council, Public Opinion Strategies conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,200 registered voters from January 29 to February 3, 2016. These findings indicate that voter support for the “Cadillac Tax” is dwarfed by support for repeal.

Voters are more likely to re-elect their representative if they voted to repeal the “Cadillac” tax, though a majority of voters say it makes no real difference in their vote, a report out today from the American Benefits Council says.

Overall, 37 percent of voters said their congressman voting to repeal the tax would make them more likely to re-elect their representative, while 16 percent said it would make them less likely to do so. Still, 47 percent said the vote made no difference. The report was released by the Alliance to Fight the 40, a coalition of groups advocating to repeal the tax on high-cost health plans.

The March Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that health care is one of many issues that will be important to voters in the Presidential election, trailing concerns about the economy and jobs and leading concerns about another hot issue, immigration. Health care ranks higher for Democratic voters than for Republican and independent voters and is a higher priority for women than for men.

Christopher E. Press nails our experience (“$lammed by ObamaCare,” op-ed, March 8). My wife and I are self-employed and were content with our modest, cost-effective health insurance. By “self-insuring,” we knew we risked a little higher deductible if something were to happen.

When the president talked up his health-care plan, we weren’t really concerned since he promised, “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep [it],” and “keep your doctor,” too. Then he slammed our carefully chosen policy as having “inadequate” coverage. When ObamaCare was rammed through Congress, not only did we scramble to keep the doctors who had cared for us for years, but we paid double for the bronze plan that was most similar to our previous (now canceled) coverage. And, of course, our deductibles went up.

What does the president consider “adequate” coverage for two people past age 55 with no kids? Maternity benefits and teen dental coverage? How helpful. What is the point of ObamaCare? Better health care? Hardly. It’s called “redistribution.”

President Barack Obama was in Milwaukee Thursday to congratulate the city for winning a federal health insurance sign up contest during the latest open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. Scott Walker said greater enrollment is good, but the complaints he says he hears about the law are bad.

“What we hear routinely from small business owners and farmers across the state is that it’s anything but affordable,” Walker said. “They’ve actually seen their health care costs go on up dramatically even with the so-called Affordable Care Act.”

. . .

Unlike the last few election cycles, paid political advertising that features healthcare issues hasn’t played a starring role in the early primaries.

But once the Democratic and Republican nominees are selected, watch out.

The Affordable Care Act and other healthcare issues are going to get plenty of screen time, according to experts who track campaign advertising. Indeed, one analyst estimates healthcare messages, combining both pro- and anti-Obamacare ads, will account for nearly one-fifth of the more than $6 billion that will be spent in this year’s massive onslaught of television and digital advertising to voters in the presidential, congressional and gubernatorial campaigns.