2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

KFF finds ACA support dropping again, but some positive news about potential OE3 enrollments?

I've been quick to crow about improving national support for the ACA in the past, so it would be disingenous of me to ignore it when there's a negative development:

Views on Obamacare have taken a negative shift, according to a November Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Tuesday.

Forty-five percent of Americans now say they have a negative view of the Affordable Care Act, while 38 percent have a positive view. This represents a reversal from earlier this year when, for the first time in three years, a greater number of Americans were in favor of the law than against it.

In October, a KFF poll found opinion evenly split on the law at 42 percent. The foundation's September poll showed a more narrow divide, with a 41 percent favorable to 45 percent unfavorable rating. A KFF survey conducted in August showed opinion skewed more favorably, with 44 percent of Americans stating they had a positive view and 41 percent stating they had a negative one.

Here's the actual KFF tracking survey results:

So, what's caused the drop over the past couple of months? Well, the two significant developments I can think of have been news about average premium rates going up 12-13% nationally and, of course, the Co-Op meltdown (aka the #RiskCorridorMassacre).

Other than that, the new KFF survey actually focuses mostly on prescription drug abuse issues which, while interesting and important, aren't really in my bailiwick.

However, there were a few questions which relate specifically to the ACA; in addition to the "support/oppose" question and "what should be done next", there was also this:

This month marks the start of the third open enrollment period under the health care law, which provides the opportunity to purchase health insurance on the exchanges and access to financial assistance, and the uninsured remain a key target for enrollment efforts. While 4 in 10 uninsured Americans (40 percent) report closely following news coverage of the health care law’s third open enrollment period, most say they value health insurance. Seven in 10 (69 percent) of the uninsured say health insurance is something they need, while 3 in 10 (29 percent) say they are healthy enough to go without. Additionally, the vast majority of the uninsured (86 percent) say it is at least somewhat important to them personally to have health insurance, including about 6 in 10 (63 percent) who say it is very important.

This is actually pretty promising, from an Open Enrollment POV. I presume that there's a pretty solid overlap between the 69% who think health insurance is "something I need" and the 63% who feel that it's "very important" to have. Let's call it a flat 60% who believe both.

Consider this (rough) breakout of the remaining uninsured:

The Kaiser study doesn't breakout the "something I need/important to me" numbers between these populations, but let's assume that it's pretty evenly spread. If so, that suggests that around 8.6 million of the 14.4 million people who are eligible for private policies via the ACA exchanges (with or without tax credits) very much want to get insured.

Cost/affordability issues notwithstanding, if every one of these folks signed up during Open Enrollment, of course, the total number of enrollees would likely break 17 million easily (assuming another 9 million current enrollees renewing). If even 2/3 of them do so (5.7 million), that would still be enough to hit my personal projection of 14.7 million people selecting QHPs by the end of January.