December 3 2013
Tuning out ObamaCare
Patrice J. Lee
New Gallup polling finds that young Americans – a key group for ObamaCare – continue to be the segment of the population least familiar with the law compared to other adults.
While a majority of Americans remain broadly familiar with the healthcare law, few are actually very familiar with it. Of those who are very familiar, they vehemently oppose it. If that isn’t a glowing mandate from the public, I don’t know what is!
According to Gallup only 63 percent of 18-29 year olds are familiar with the Affordable Care Act compared to 72 percent of 30-49 year olds, 77 percent of 50-64 year olds and 75 percent of those over 65. The 37 percent of young people who are unfamiliar with ObamaCare is eleven points higher than the national average.
The Administration should be concerned as this demographic is critical to the solvency of ObamaCare. The President needs 2.7 million healthy young 18-35 year olds to sign up for insurance to help subsidize the cost of healthcare for those who are older and more ill. That over a third of these young Americans are unfamiliar with Obamacare –a number that has remained unchanged since August- doesn’t bode well for the Administration. There go all of those efforts by Amy Poehler, Kal Penn, Jennifer Hudson and Babe the Big Blue Ox.
Of those young people who do know about ObamaCare, are they embracing ObamaCare? The Administration is not releasing demographic data, so we don’t really know. However, when we consider the impacts of ObamaCare on this demographic, we can expect they will be slow to embrace it.
Frankly, it’s a bad deal for them. Generation Opportunity, a national youth advocacy group, found that on average premiums will rise 169% for young people. (In full disclosure, I work for Generation Opportunity). Higher healthcare costs hoist another boulder on the shoulders of a generation that faces a 16 percent effective unemployment rate and high student loan debt.
Those in college have not been immune to the loss of their healthcare plans. As we’ve reported, students at community colleges and historically black colleges and universities are losing their low-cost plans because of ObamaCare.
When you consider the privacy concerns over personal data with ObamaCare–an issue that is high on the radars of this demographic- it’s not surprising if young people run –in the other direction.
Diving into the Gallup polling, we find other interesting information:
Although the healthcare act originated with a Democratic president and was passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2010, Republicans across the country are significantly more familiar with it than are Democrats. This could reflect the desire among those who are most emotionally opposed to the law to know more about it, or underlying differences in attention to news across party groups.
Overall, familiarity with the healthcare law is up only slightly from late summer and October, with 72% now saying they are at least somewhat familiar with the law, while 28% say they are not.
Those who are familiar with the healthcare law are significantly more likely to oppose it than those who are not familiar with it. Among those familiar with the law, net approval is -19 percentage points, slightly more negative than is the case for the overall population. Those who are unfamiliar with the law are evenly divided, with 41% approving and 43% disapproving.
Enroll America has its work cut out for it. The Administration threw millions of dollars at an impressive PR machine fueled by the press to spread the word to all Americans (especially young Americans) that they should get on board with ObamaCare. Based on these poll numbers that money was as well spent as the millions that when to the healthcare.gov contractors.
It’s embarrassing that the folks at Enroll America (most of whom turned out so many young people to elect and re-elect the President), are missing the mark in educating this base of support on his signature legislation. If Enroll America continues to come up with objectifying and disrespectful “Got Insurance?” ads, efforts to get young people to opt out of taking ObamaCare won’t be needed at all.