RALEIGH – A poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling shows the president’s approval rating stalled at his lowest point.
That’s because his biggest domestic policy achievement continues to hold his numbers down.
The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular with most voters surveyed by PPP, and Democrats everywhere are taking the hit.
Tom Jensen, director of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, breaks it down.
“We continue to find Barack Obama with some of the lowest numbers he’s had since taking office,” says Jensen. “Only 41 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing nationally. Fifty-three percent disapprove.”
That 41 percent mark, for the second month in a row, matches the lowest number for the president in the PPP survey.
The numbers for Democrats, in general, are sinking. Republicans now have a slight lead in a generic congressional ballot, 42-to-40. That’s a seven-point shift from the height of the government shutdown in October.
The Affordable Care Act appears to be the biggest drag on their approval rating. Only 38 percent of voters like the ACA, with 52 percent opposed. Only 32 percent think it’s been implemented successfully, while 62 percent do not.
But Jensen says that two issues may signal a bright side for Democrats.
“We find that a couple of the things that Barack Obama might emphasize this year are really quite popular,” says Jensen. “When it comes to extending unemployment benefits, 63 percent of voters think they should be extended. Only 32 percent think they should be cut off.”
Plus, the Democrats have the upper hand when it comes to raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour.
“Fifty-five percent of voters support that,” says Jensen. “Only 36 percent are opposed.”
With that in mind, Jensen says the president should try to take the focus off Obamacare, if he’d like to see his numbers improve.
“He needs to find some issues where he can get some support across party lines,” says Jensen.
JEFFERSON CITY — The slow rollout of a new federal health insurance marketplace may be deepening differences in health coverage among Americans.
New federal figures show more people are gaining coverage in states that have fully embraced the federal health care law than in those whose elected officials have rejected involvement.
In the dozen states that expanded Medicaid eligibility and are running their own health insurance exchanges, about half the people who applied for coverage through the exchanges have either picked an insurance plan or been routed to Medicaid.
The percentage of applicants selecting an insurance plan or being directed to Medicaid barely tops 15 percent in the two dozen states that have rejected Medicaid expansion and relied solely on the federal government to run their online insurance marketplace.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/federal-data-show-health-disparities-among-states/
Raleigh – The failed launch of the Obamacare website is acting like gravity for the approval ratings of democrats in Washington D.C.
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Senator Kay Hagan’s approval ratings are changing, but Public Policy Polling Analyst Jim Williams says they’re not going the direction the Hagan administration would prefer.
“We had found Kay Hagan with a small, but consistent lead throughout most of this year,” Williams says, “We’re finding now that it’s really kind of crept into a statistical tie at this point.”
The poll shows Hagan in a dead heat with her prospective 2014 opponents; coming in no more than three points ahead of state House Speaker Tom Tillis, Heather Grant, and Rev. Mark Harris. And she’s trailing one point behind Greg Brannon.
So what’s the force behind the trend?
“That stems probably from the botched roll out of the Obamacare website,” says Williams.
The website has been a nightmare for the faces of the Democratic Party since healthcare.gov opened its marketplace for federal health insurance on October 1.
“Obama’s approval rating in September was 48 percent approve, 29 percent disapprove,” Williams says, “Now it’s down to 43 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove.”
Williams says North Carolinians have responded negatively to the health care plan they were already skeptical of in the first place.
“Obamacare has never been particularly popular in North Carolina, but now only 38 percent of voters say they approve of it, compared to 48 percent who disapprove,” Williams says.
“Even worse 69 percent of voters say its rollout has been unsuccessful so far.”
The 2014 senate election is still a year away. Williams says there’s a large group of undecided voters who could come to Hagan’s rescue.
“The race is sort of unformed as far as the senate race,” Williams says, “A lot of the folks who either are running or may run are not well-known to the voters yet; so that’s why you’re seeing high numbers of undecided voters.”
Senator Hagan originally supported the Affordable Care Act. But she announced Tuesday that she is asking for an investigation of the failed website launch.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/sen-hagan-approval-slipping-in-wake-of-obamacare-web-launch/
CHAPEL HILL - The League of Women Voters of Orange/Durham/Chatham Counties will hold an educational program on Understanding the Affordable Care Act at the Chapel Hill Public Library.
The educational program will provide people with an understanding of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation in North Carolina. The first session will be held on Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and will be free to the public.
The second session will take place on December 4 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Public Library.
For more information call 919-968-2780.
Carrboro Town Commons will host the Annual Halloween Carnival along with a pumpkin carving contest on October 31.
People wanting to enter the pumpkin carving contest should bring their pre-carved pumpkin to the Carrboro Town Commons between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Citizens will be able to vote on the pumpkins during the Annual Halloween Carnival from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The winner will be announced at 8:15 p.m.
The Carnival will last until 8:30 p.m. and children will be able to make crafts, win prizes, and play carnival games.
For more information click here.
On October 31, OWASA and the American Red Cross will sponsor the annual Halloween blood drive at OWASA from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The blood drive will be held in the Community room on the lower floor of OWASA’s administrative building. People who come to donate blood will be entered into a drawing for a $200 gift card courtesy of Suburban Propane. For more information click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/news-around-time/understanding-obamacare-halloween-carnival-blood-drive/
CHAPEL HILL – As the Obama administration is scrambling to fix major malfunctions in the online health care market place, efforts are being made here in Chapel Hill to help people sign up and avoid the confusion.
Sherry Hay, Director of Community Health Initiatives at UNC Family Medicine, has been helping to lead community events, such as phone banks and informational forums, to educate people about the Affordable Care Act.
Since its launch on Oct. 1, the HealthCare.Gov site, the online market place through which consumers can enroll in health care, has been plagued with problems.
President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged on Monday that the new health care law’s website hasn’t been functioning as it should, but he insisted that Americans should still register for Obamacare, despite the technical problems.
Hay said she alarmed about the misinformation circulating in the media.
“One of the most concerning things is [the notion] that there will be someone in Washington making a decision about their health care, in lieu of that decision being made with their primary care provider,” Hay said. “That is absolutely not correct information.”
At UNC Family Medicine, Hay said she and her team have been helping their patients enroll through the market place.
“So yes, it is frustrating. I understand that, but it is coverage that provides you access. Hopefully in the long term, you’ll see a quality increase and also see our costs go down.”
Hay said the Affordable Care Act is more than just the market place and that the program has many benefits.
“One is making prevention a reimbursable service for Medicare recipients. Prevention, particularly for our older population, for all of us is important. Those many things that the act covers are critical to our long-term health.”
In addition to the government website, applicants can enroll by phone or by mail.
People can call 1-800-318-2596, a line which is open 24/7. A representative will be available to walk consumers through the enrollment process.
Hay explained a new tool has been created on the website to outline which plans are available by state.
Obama pledged Monday to recruit the “best and the brightest” to rectify HealthCare.gov’s technical problems.
“Yes, there have been some problems, but the extent of the law is well worth sometimes what changes bring—which are a few bumps in the road.”
Local Health Care Exchanges Informational Events:
- The League of Women Voters is holding a community event Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the Hillsborough Public Library.
- Get Covered America is holding an events nationwide as part of “Treat Yourself To Coverage.” Information sessions will be happening in the Triangle and across the state.http://chapelboro.com/news/health/some-warn-public-not-to-panic-over-obamacare-glitches/
WASHINGTON – Americans trying to sign up for health insurance under the new law are experiencing more problems.
The online enrollment system was down again early Tuesday for upgrades. Tech experts have been called in several times to fix glitches since healthcare.gov’s debut a week ago.
But experts say there’s still time to fix those problems before the uninsured start getting coverage Jan. 1.http://chapelboro.com/news/national/insurers-others-say-obamacare-glitches-fixable/