The Fix: health care

Obamacare’s final push to enroll African Americans

Tick-tock goes the Obamacare clock.

On Thursday, the White House announced that 6 million Americans have signed up for health care coverage. The administration pushed hard for minorities to sign up on the exchanges. With just days left before the deadline for enrollment, the administration and its allies are still pushing toward their original goal of 7 million enrollees. Watch to see who's on the receiving end of this sprint to the finish line.

How does your county stack up on health insurance? Consult this interactive map.

How does your county stack up on health insurance? Consult this interactive map.

The battle between advocates and opponents of the federal health-care law is often chock-full of macroscopic statistics and data points. But what about looking at health care on a smaller scale?

Thanks to an interactive infographic below from the consumer finance Web site ValuePenguin, you can take a look at how your own county measures up when it comes to what percentage of the population is insured, how many companies are offering plans on the exchange, and how it all compares to every other county in the country.

Continue Reading »

Of football, seat belts, and the many analogies of President Obama

Of football, seat belts, and the many analogies of President Obama

For nearly an hour Thursday afternoon, President Obama talked football, online shopping and car safety -- all in a news conference designed to talk about his signature health-care law.

Obama repeatedly sought to drive his points about the law home by using analogies, some more strained than others. Here’s a sampling:

Continue Reading »

The lowest low of the Obama presidency

The lowest low of the Obama presidency

Here’s what President Obama really wanted to tell NBC’s Chuck Todd about the implementation of the health-care law in an interview Thursday: “Look, Chuck. We’re talking about 5 percent of the population who can’t keep their plans. Five percent. And once the Web site starts working right, they will realize they can get better plans anyway.”

Continue Reading »

Glitches didn’t change the public’s view of Obamacare. But that’s not all good news for Democrats.

Glitches didn’t change the public’s view of Obamacare. But that’s not all good news for Democrats.

Americans’ views about the federal health-care law have held steady even as the implementation of the law’s key components have hit bump after bump in recent weeks.

But that’s not all good news for Democrats.

Overall, Americans remain more likely to say the law will make things worse, not better. A new Gallup poll shows Americans’ views of how the law effects both them and the country more broadly have barely budged since the summer. In August, nearly a quarter of Americans (24 percent) said they think the law will make things better for their family, while 38 percent said they believe it will make things worse. The better/worse split is now 25/34 percent.

Continue Reading »

The dirty little secret of Obamacare? Tons of people don’t even know it’s a law.

The dirty little secret of Obamacare? Tons of people don’t even know it’s a law.

For all of the political rhetoric spent on President Obama’s health care law -- defund it! implement it! -- there’s one fact that consistently gets lost: Almost half of all Americans don’t know it’s the law of the land.

Yes, you read that last sentence right. In the Kaiser Family Foundation’s August tracking poll, 44 percent(!) said they were “unaware” of the current status of the law. The bulk of those people -- 31 percent -- said they simply didn’t know if the Affordable Care Act was law or not. Another eight percent said the law had been overturned by Congress while five percent said it had been overturned by the Supreme Court.

Continue Reading »

Why President Obama is deploying explainer-in-chief Bill Clinton to lift Obamacare

Why President Obama is deploying explainer-in-chief Bill Clinton to lift Obamacare

The “Secretary of Explaining Stuff” has just been deployed for assignment. Again.

Facing key implementation deadlines for a health-care law that has been received poorly by the public and is the subject of unwavering criticism from Republicans, President Obama is trying to right the ship by turning to the Democratic Party’s best messenger: Bill Clinton.

Continue Reading »

It's Scandal Week in the House!

It's Scandal Week in the House!

The House will vote this week on a package of legislative proposals inspired in part by the recent troubles at the Internal Revenue Service, a parting shot at the Obama administration by Republicans as Congress gets ready to leave town for its summer break.

House Republican leaders have dubbed this "Stop Government Abuse Week" and expect GOP lawmakers to tout passage of the bills during interactions with voters during the five-week recess.

Continue Reading »

The health-care law isn't all that popular. And that's not changing.

The health-care law isn't all that popular. And that's not changing.

President Obama launched (another) rhetorical offensive in the fight to convince the public of the benefits of his health-care law on Thursday, delivering a speech highlighting the rebates that many Americans are receiving from their insurance companies.

Of the opposition to the law -- particularly within House Republican circles -- Obama said: "We're just going to blow through that stuff and keep on doing the right thing for the American people."

Continue Reading »

Obama to deliver health-care speech in California on Friday

Obamacare isn't getting repealed. But not because it's popular.

Obamacare isn't getting repealed. But not because it's popular.

The GOP-controlled House will try for the 37th time later Thursday to repeal Obamacare. Like the first 36 times, the effort will gain no traction beyond the lower chamber.

Is that because of a Democratic Senate and White House? Absolutely. Is it because the law is popular? No, because it's not.

As House Republican renew their assault, it's worth bearing in mind that President Obama's health care law continues to divide the public. An April Kaiser Health Tracking Poll showed that Americans were split over the law, with a narrow plurality saying they held an unfavorable view of it:

Continue Reading »

Repealing Obamacare is a nonstarter, but many Americans don't like the law

Repealing Obamacare is a nonstarter, but many Americans don't like the law

When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) introduces his new budget blueprint Tuesday, the plan will promote the repeal of President Obama's signature health-care law. While the prospect of reversing the law is a legislative nonstarter, it's worth noting that polling shows a substantial percentage of Americans don't like the measure.

Continue Reading »

Romney moves to embrace ‘Romneycare’

The health-care law which shall not be named is starting to get mentioned.

Twice today, Mitt Romney’s campaign has cited the health-care law he signed as Massachusetts governor — seeking credit for something it took pains to explain away during the Republican primary race.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, responding to a harsh new super PAC ad featuring a man who blames Bain Capital for his uninsured wife’s death, broke new ground for the campaign by praising Romney’s health insurance mandate.

“To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Gov. Romney’s health care plan, they would have had health care,” Saul said on Fox News. “There are a lot of people losing their jobs and losing their health care in President Obama’s economy.” (These comments are around the 2-minute mark in the video above.)

Similarly, at an event in Iowa today, Romney seemed to suggest his bill qualifies him to tackle reforming Obama’s bill: “We’ve got to do some reforms in health care, and I have some experience doing that as you know, and I know how to make a better setting than the one we have in health care.”

Continue Reading »

The amazing number of people who know nothing about the health-care ruling

One of the most common mistakes made in political reporting is to assume that average voter is following the daily news cycle as closely as we are. He or she isn’t.


This Oct. 8, 2010, photo shows the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court at the Supreme Court. Seated from left are Associate Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Standing from left are Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
The latest poll numbers from the Pew Research Center on the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s health-care law are (yet another) affirmation of that fact.

Forty-five percent — yes 45 percent! — of respondents in the Pew poll either didn’t know what the court had done in regards the health care law (30 percent) or thought that the court had rejected most of the provisions of the law (15 percent).

Let’s just make sure we are all clear: Forty-five percent of people didn’t know about or were misinformed about the most highly publicized Supreme Court case since — at least — Bush v. Gore in 2000 that dealt with the landmark legislative accomplishment of Obama’s first term in office. That is staggering stuff.

Continue Reading »

The political fallout from health care reform — in three charts

The Supreme Court’s ruling in support of President Obama’s health care law isn’t even a week old yet but we are already seeing some fascinating numbers about how the ruling changed — or didn’t change — how people feel about the Affordable Care Act.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been polling on attitudes regarding health care since time immemoriam, released new data today that tells a fascinating story about the political future of the law.

What is that future? It depends on which numbers from the poll you look at it. Below are three charts that provide three varying narratives on what the law meant, means and will mean in our political landscape.

Continue Reading »

How John Roberts became the story

In a 2010 Pew poll less than three in ten Americans knew that John Roberts was the Chief Justice of the United States. But, his pivotal role in Thursday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law might well turn Roberts into a more household name.

According to Google data, searches for Roberts soared between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. eastern time Thursday, far outdistancing other terms like “individual mandate” and “SCOTUS”.

Here’s a chart from the good people at Google detailing the top five rising search terms over that critical three hours on Thursday.

Could President Obama run against the Supreme Court?

Could President Obama run against the Supreme Court?

Let’s say that later this morning (or on Thursday), the Supreme Court rules that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional, thereby invalidating — whether in part or in total — the signature legislative accomplishment of President Obama’s first term.

The initial reactions are predictable. Republicans would be triumphant, Democrats depressed. And, as we have written before, it’s not entirely clear that anything — up to and including the Supreme Court’s decision — can drastically alter public opinion regarding Obama’s health care law.

Continue Reading »

The political fight on health care is over. Republicans won.

The political fight on health care is over. Republicans won.

While official Washington waits with bated breath for the Supreme Court to announce its decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, a new study from the Pew Research Center makes it abundantly clear that the political fight over health care is already over. And Republicans won.

Continue Reading »

The Supreme Court just can’t win on health care

There’s basically no winning for the Supreme Court when it rules on President Obama’s health care law next week.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows more Americans will be unhappy than happy regardless of what the court rules — whether it upholds the law, strikes it down entirely, or strikes down the individual insurance mandate and leaves the rest alone.

6-18-12 #1

But on the whole, the most popular decision appears to be tossing the whole law out, which earns the approval of 44 percent of Americans and 50 percent of electorally crucial independents. And opposition to the law remains significantly stronger than support.

Continue Reading »

Can the White House win on health care?

Can the White House win on health care?

The assumption in the professional political world has long been that, if President Obama wants to win a second term in November, he should talk as little as possible about the health care bill that he signed into law two years ago.

Polling suggested — and continues to suggest — that the American public is unfavorably inclined to the law; in a Washington Post-ABC survey earlier this month, 41 percent supported the law while 52 percent opposed it

Continue Reading »

President Obama embraces ‘Obamacare’ label. But why?

President Obama embraces ‘Obamacare’ label. But why?

Even as the Supreme Court begins oral arguments over the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law today, the incumbent and his reelection team have made a critical strategic decision to embrace the term “Obamacare.”

“You want to call it Obamacare — that’s okay, because I do care,” Obama said at a fundraiser in Atlanta late last week. Then on Friday, the White House urged supporters of the law to tweet why they backed it with the hashtag “#ilikeobamacare.” And on Sunday, White House senior adviser David Plouffe threw down the political gauntlet on the term; “I’m convinced at the end of the decade, the Republicans are going to regret turning this [into] ‘Obamacare,’” Plouffe said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Continue Reading »

On health care, Supreme Court loss could be electoral win

President Obama’s biggest legislative victory in 2010 was his health care bill, which in turn wound up being his party’s biggest electoral liability.

History could repeat itself in 2012, except in reverse.
The Supreme Court (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

As Republicans and Democrats alike commemorate the two-year anniversary of the signing of the health care bill today, a more significant battle awaits in the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

And some Republicans are worried that their big challenge to Obama’s health care law could backfire come election time.

Continue Reading »

Why President Obama doesn’t talk about health care — in a single chart

Why President Obama doesn’t talk about health care — in a single chart

The fight over President Obama’s health care bill is set to heat up (again) in the next week as the Supreme Court begins oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law.

But, a look at polling on the issue suggests that it’s very unlikely that whatever the Court decides will have much impact on how the law is viewed by the American public.

Continue Reading »

Study shows health care bill may have cost Democrats the House

A top Democrat acknowledged Thursday that President Obama’s health care bill hurt his party in 2010. And a new study suggests it cost the Democrats something pretty specific: their House majority.

“It was clearly a liability in the last election in terms of the public’s fear,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday during a briefing with reporters.

Continue Reading »

Mitt Romney’s rivals avoid health-care bill attacks at South Carolina debate

Mitt Romney’s rivals avoid health-care bill attacks at South Carolina debate

Mitt Romney’s biggest vulnerabilies in the GOP presidential race are supposed to be threefold: his moderate past, the health-care bill he signed into law as Massachusetts governor, and his record at Bain Capital.

And on all three counts, he basically got a pass at Monday’s debate.

In fact, the words “health care,” “moderate” and “liberal” didn’t come up once in reference to Romney.

Continue Reading »

Supreme Court inserts itself into 2012 election in a major way

With its recent decisions to take up a trio of major cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has signaled that it will become a major player in the 2012 election.

The court’s decision Monday to review Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law was just the latest addition to what many see as its most important and politically charged docket in recent years.
The nine members of the Supreme Court pose for a new group photograph to reflect their newest member, Elena Kagan, in October 2010. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

The court also said late Friday that it would review a contentious redistricting situation in Texas, and perhaps most importantly, a few weeks ago it said it would examine President Obama’s health-care bill.

All three rulings, on their surface at least, favor Republicans, as the GOP had been seeking to get the high court to tackle those issues.

But even as we don’t know how the cases will pan out, simply raising the issues to such prominence could have a major impact on the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

At the same time, it’s not exactly clear which party will benefit.

Continue Reading »

Perry hits Gingrich and Romney on health-care mandates in TV ad (video)

While former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney take aim at eachother, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is hoping to get in on the action with an ad that targets both rivals for supporting individual health-care mandates.

On a campaign stop in South Carolina Thursday, Perry also attacked Gingrich’s multiple marriages , saying he made “an oath to God when I married my wife” and that it was “an important issue.” Together, the two charges are a sign that Perry has decided go negative on the new frontrunner. Romney has also gone after the thrice-married Gingrich by contrasting his own stable family life to that of his rival’s.

Continue Reading »

The Supreme Court and the politics of health care

The Supreme Court and the politics of health care

The news that the Justice Department had requested that the Supreme Court examine President Obama’s health care law means that a verdict from the nation’s highest court will likely come sometime next year — right in the heart of the 2012 race.

While the decision will undoubtedly draw massive amounts of media attention, political strategists on both sides of the aisle questioned how large an impact the ruling would have on how health care will play out in the 2012 presidential election.

Continue Reading »