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Obamacare popularity drops in US: Survey

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Nov 15, 2013 01:33 hrs
Barack Obama, Kathleen Sebelius

Washington: Americans' views of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul have taken a nosedive in recent weeks amid controversy over its poorly-functioning website, finds a Gallup poll released Thursday.

With 40 percent of Americans approving and 55 percent disapproving the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the gap now marks the largest division over the law this year, Xinhua reported citing the Nov 7-10 poll.

The poll comes as the Obama administration is embroiled in controversy over the Obamacare website, which has been riddled with glitches and technical errors since its Oct 1 launch.

The site, a centerpiece of the Obamacare, through which visitors can enroll in health insurance plans, has seen myriad technical problems preventing visitors from completing enrollment.

At the same time, an estimated two million Americans have been dropped from their previous healthcare coverage, as their plans did not adhere to Obamacare's strict new coverage standards, and some analysts predicted the number could reach the tens of millions.

The development has put Obama in hot water, as he vowed numerous times in recent years that those who liked their insurance policies could keep them.

The Gallup poll found that Americans' most common complaint about the new law is a philosophical objection -- government interference or forcing people to get healthcare -- mentioned by 37 percent of those who disapprove.

Twenty-one percent believe the law will increase costs and make healthcare less affordable. Eight percent specifically mention planning, design, or website problems; another 8 percent say the law is "not working".

In an open-ended question probing Americans' reasons for approving or disapproving of the law, 11 percent of those who disapprove specifically mention losing their insurance. Another 7 percent say the president lied about details of the law, Gallup found.

Some Democratic members of Congress, as well as former president Bill Clinton, are urging Obama to support legislation that would rewrite portions of the law to allow Americans to keep their insurance plan if they are being dropped from it, as a way to honour his pledge.

Many members of Congress from both parties are asking the administration to extend the deadline by a year for Americans to get health insurance before facing a fine, given the ongoing technical issues with the exchange website which are still being fixed. The White House recently extended the deadline by six weeks.

Obama announced on Thursday from the White House that those dropped from their coverage can get their plans back until next year. But the question remains whether insurance companies will be able to take those customers back at this point.

Meanwhile, Obama's popularity has reached a low point of 41.7 percent, according to the Real Clear Politics average, which many experts attribute to the failing implementation of Obamacare.

Experts said if the website glitches are not repaired soon, Democrats may feel the sting in next year's midterm Congressional elections.




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