Surprise! Democrats Benefit More From Obamacare Than Republicans.


Sarah Kliff points today to an interesting new Kaiser poll about Obamacare. The question is whether Obamacare has directly helped or hurt your family. It turns out that far more Democrats think it’s helped them than Republicans.

Now, there are some reasons to think this is objectively true. Obamacare exchanges have generally been more effective in blue states, signing up more people. Medicaid expansion has been almost entirely limited to blue states. And Obamacare is directed primarily at those with low incomes, who lean heavily Democratic. Put all this together, and you’d expect that a lot more Democrats have benefited from Obamacare than Republicans.

However, Kliff thinks this doesn’t explain the entire gap. A lot of it is just plain partisanship: “Democrats likely overestimate the health law’s reach, Republicans underestimate and the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.” I suspect that’s true, and it’s the chart on the right that demonstrates it most clearly. Take a look at the question in the middle. A full 34 percent of Republicans say they personally know someone who lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare. Given the rather small number of people who actually fall into this category, it’s vanishingly unlikely that 34 percent of Republicans truly know someone who lost coverage. But since they don’t like Obamacare, I suppose they’re more likely to count friends of friends, or someone that Aunt Millie told them about, or someone they heard about at that party last Christmas. Democrats probably act the opposite.

On the other hand, the results of the question about gaining coverage actually seem fairly reasonable to me. I’d expect about a 2:1 difference between Republicans and Democrats, and that’s what we see. For some reason, I suspect that people are answering questions about gaining coverage fairly honestly. It’s only on the issue of losing coverage that partisan loyalties are skewing the results.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest