Friday, March 24, 2017

Five-Thirty-Eight Presents Three Excellent Articles on ACA/AHCA Public Opinion

Five-Thirty-Eight, which covers politics, sports, and culture through a statistical/analytic lens, has published three articles in recent days on public opinion toward the American Health Care Act (AHCA)*, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's alternative to former President Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA).
  • Harry Enten writes about how, "The AHCA is much more disliked than the ACA and [Bill and Hillary] Clinton’s health care reform bill [in 1993-94] were when they were first introduced" and "may haunt the GOP" in future elections.
  • Perry Bacon, Jr., argues that the fervor over Obamacare and its possible repeal/replacement by the Republicans is "disproportionate" to the substantive effects of such a policy change, as "less than a tenth of all Americans" receive health care coverage through the ACA. Rather, as Bacon contends, "the Obamacare debate is really about much more than health care. In many ways, the two parties... are also debating fundamental questions about the role of government, work, income redistribution, race, class and Barack Obama."
  • Nate Silver estimates support for the AHCA in each of the nation's 435 congressional districts and concludes that "there are about 80 districts... where supporters of the bill are in the plurality [i.e., supporters outnumber opponents, but supporters don't necessarily reach 51%]. But I estimate that there are only three of them — Alabama’s 4th, Kentucky’s 5th and Texas’s 13th — where supporters of the bill constitute an outright majority."
In addition, Slate discusses a Quinnipiac poll showing only a microscopic 13% of women support the AHCA (with men not much higher at 22%).


*I've started pronouncing the AHCA acronym as "Ock-ah." You may wish to follow suit.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

GOP/Ryan Insurance Bill Faring Poorly in the Polls

The Huffington Post summarizes recent public-opinion polling on Republican health-insurance legislation introduced by Speaker Paul Ryan, as part of the GOP's effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This article focuses entirely on public attitudes toward the Ryan plan, whereas a separate article discusses the Speaker's legislation among other topics. In a nutshell, the GOP/Ryan plan is not very popular.

Readers of this blog may recall the extensive discussion of opposition from the left to Obamacare, as some liberals seemed to be holding out for a Canadian-style single-payer plan or other system that did not rely so heavily on private insurance companies. In converse fashion, Fox News looked at opposition to the GOP/Ryan plan from the right on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough in undoing Obamacare. In particular, some of the most conservative members of the U.S. House have taken issue with the GOP/Ryan plan's retention of what are known as refundable tax credits.

How much is opposition from the right driving the overall opposition to the GOP/Ryan plan? Somewhat, but not as the predominant factor. According to the second of the two HuffPost articles linked above:

A Fox News poll published Wednesday night finds that just 34 percent of registered voters support the GOP’s health care plan, with 54 percent in opposition ― 36 percent oppose because it makes too many changes to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and 11 percent because it makes too few.