Has Obamacare Support Peaked?

There is a dynamic to any new product release. First, the most fanatical supporters grab hold of it (remember the iPhone rollout), and then the less interested, and then the people who were not interested at all but who know people who have bought it. At some point you run out of people who want your product. At that point you replace it with an upgrade or find some way through marketing to convert more people into fans of what you are selling them.

The way a company takes advantage of this phenomenon is by starting with a high price and then gradually lowering it. Those who love you or your product the most will give you the most support. Later, you can make the iPhone out of plastic parts to lower costs for less eager potential buyers.

Obamacare can’t adjust in that way. Arguably, it never had really zealous purchasers, only a zealous sales force. But it seems to be now facing the challenge of declining interst.

Fox News reports,

With exactly two months left until open enrollment period ends, ObamaCare ends its 19th week. And a new poll finds that the uninsured—the population the Affordable Care Act most needs to function—are displaying weakened support for the president’s reform law.

Kaiser Health’s Tracking Poll for January, released Thursday, finds 47% of the uninsured have an unfavorable view of the law, versus 24% of those who have a favorable opinion. More of those without coverage say the law has made the uninsured “worse off,” at 39%, compared to 26% who say the law has made the uninsured “better off.”

The reason for the drop in support is likely frustration, says Paul Howard, director of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute.

“The people who find the law the most attractive have probably already gone and shopped and found coverage,” Howard says. “So the remaining pool are the least likely to ‘like’ the law, they probably have a negative perception.”

The response by Obamacare supporters is that these people don’t know about the subsidies. But if Congressional staffers (including Democrats!) don’t want Obamacare even with their much greater subsidies, why should we expect anyone else to love Obamacare with the much smaller subsidies? We have reports that many don’t qualify for subsidies. CNN reported awhile back that the White House promised subsidies for people who are not going to get them.

What I don’t see happening is people who love their new health insurance so much that they convince their friends and family to jump on board.