New AP/GfK Poll Misses Point Of ACA, Ignores History
December 15, 2013

This AP/GfK poll about health insurance and the way it's been reported is beyond absurd.

The poll found a striking level of unease about the law among people who have health insurance and aren't looking for any more government help. Those are the 85 percent of Americans who the White House says don't have to be worried about the president's historic push to expand coverage for the uninsured.

In the survey, nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year — mostly for the worse. Nearly 4 in 5 (77 percent) blame the changes on the Affordable Care Act, even though the trend toward leaner coverage predates the law's passage.

Sixty-nine percent say their premiums will be going up, while 59 percent say annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.

Only 21 percent of those with private coverage said their plan is expanding to cover more types of medical care, though coverage of preventive care at no charge to the patient has been required by the law for the past couple of years.

Fourteen percent said coverage for spouses is being restricted or eliminated, and 11 percent said their plan is being discontinued.

Let's take a walk back to the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, shall we? Yes, those were the good old days. Some headlines:

New York Times: Health Spending Exceeded Record $2 Trillion in 2006

Business Insurance: Health plan cost hikes stay at 6.1% - This article crows about limiting the cost increases to that rate, because insurers raised deductibles and introduced high-deductible plans to employers with group insurance costs that had leapt over 14 percent in 2002 and 10 percent in 2003.

USAToday: Employers put health coverage in workers' hands - An article about employers giving up on providing group health insurance altogether and paying their employees $200 more per month to go get their own insurance. That amount is pitiful when compared to the cost of individual plans at that time. The article notes a steep decline in employer-provided health insurance:

The idea comes as the percentage of employers providing insurance shrinks and the number of uninsured Americans grows. Last year, 60% of employers offered group coverage, down from 69% in 2000. The number of uninsured rose to 46.6 million, up from 44.8 million in 2005. Lack of health insurance fatal for 10 a week in Virginia, group says

Washington Post: The Health Care Divide - Key quote:

Americans are far less happy with the cost of care, which has been escalating rapidly in recent years. In the latest poll, barely half (53 percent) of all Americans said they were generally satisfied. That's the lowest level of satisfaction since the question was first asked in 1994. Those who were very dissatisfied with the cost exceeded those who said they were very satisfied (26 percent to 22 percent).

And two-thirds of Americans worry about they might not be able to afford coverage in the future.

At this early stage in what will be an intensifying debate over health care, Americans overwhelmingly favor the idea of finding a way to cover everyone, even if that means raising taxes. The poll found that 70 percent said they would support higher taxes in return for universal coverage, compared to 27 percent who said holding down taxes is more important than covering everyone.

Finally, this headline, which was all too common until very recently: - Cancer Patient Struggles After Losing Job

I can find thousands of articles like these. Tens of thousands, even, and I limited my search to a time frame between October 1, 2007 and March 31, 2008.

That was then, this is now. The Affordable Care Act brought costs down for employers and individuals, and is now going to cover those uninsured people who were afraid they would lose their coverage. Had all states implemented the Medicaid expansion, we would have near-universal coverage.

People no longer need to worry that they're going to die or not get treatment because they lack health insurance. They're getting help paying for that insurance.

You'd think media outlets like the AP could be bothered to do a simple Google search and come up with their own headlines before they turned into fully-certified concern trolls and forgot how bad things were before the Affordable Care Act passed.

As for poll respondents complaining about their coverage changing, pardon me if I don't shed tears over their obvious "I've got mine, screw everyone else" attitude. I don't, and the AP shouldn't enable them.

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