Poll: Fix Obamacare, Don't Patch It

17 June 2015   Charles Siler with the Foundation for Government Accountability
The Supreme Court will decide this month on whether subsidies in federal exchanges are constitutional. According to HealthInsurance.org, an estimated 133,000 could lose their subsidies if the Court rules that the subsidies can only be provided by state run exchanges. 



Individuals who have purchased insurance through ObamaCare’s federal exchange don’t want states to establish their own exchanges, even if the Supreme Court rules their subsidies to be illegal in King v. Burwell. In fact, a majority of them would blame Congress for a poorly written law, according to a poll released today by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).

The first-of-its-kind poll surveyed 715 federal exchange enrollees, the people who would be most affected by the upcoming Supreme Court decision, and focused on their opinions of ObamaCare, how they got on to the exchange, and what they want fixed.

The survey found that 46 percent of HealthCare.gov enrollees were insured pre-ObamaCare, and 65 percent of those enrollees were driven into the federal exchange -- 19 percent had their plans cancelled, 29 percent saw their coverage dropped by their employer, and 17 percent found their prior plan became too expensive under the ACA. Just 21 percent say they voluntarily switched to the exchange. Their experiences with the ObamaCare exchange have not been altogether positive, leaving them wanting some major changes, with over 70 percent wanting reforms to help everyone, not just themselves.

Over 80 percent of exchange enrollees want to get rid of ObamaCare’s open enrollment window, nearly 70 percent want subsidies/assistance available outside of the ObamaCare exchanges, a majority want non-ObamaCare plans available again, and there is almost no support for a Congressional reaction following King v. Burwell that would only impact those receiving subsidies.

“Those that have experienced ObamaCare using HealthCare.gov first hand are calling for major changes, not only for themselves but for all Americans,” said FGA CEO Tarren Bragdon.

“It is telling that those receiving ObamaCare subsidies want more flexibility, greater choice, and to get out of the exchange. Congress needs to listen very closely.”

The issues raised by exchange enrollees mirror those raised by voters in those states, with both groups saying they want pre-ObamaCare plans to be re-legalized, more flexibility for when they can enroll instead of ObamaCare’s limited open enrollment window, and subsidies that help those who really need them, not just people buying exchange plans.

“There is a clear, unified voice coming from the people, telling Congress that they want ObamaCare fundamentally changed at the federal level rather than seeing the states pressured into patching the law back together,” Bragdon said.

“Enrollees and voters don’t want state-funded exchanges, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. They want Congress to make fixes to ObamaCare that help everyone. Health care decisions are deeply personal for families. They want reforms out of Congress that will create more freedom and flexibility, not just more rules out of Washington.”

The exchange enrollee poll was conducted during late April and early May with adults from the 34 states that are using ObamaCare’s federal exchange. The FGA’s poll results can be viewed here. This poll follows up a prior survey in March where the FGA polled over 1,500 voters from 34 states using the federal ObamaCare exchange, which can be read here.

Charles Siler is with the Foundation for Government Accountability.