Sarah Kliff examines the comparisons between the rollout of the “brand new, and relatively unpopular” Medicare Part D program in 2006 and the administration’s rollout of the ACA:
Part D was even less liked [than the ACA in the months prior to launch]: 21 percent of the public had a favorable opinion of the program in April 2005 compared to 35 percent in April 2013 for the Affordable Care Act. Americans felt like they didn’t understand Part D, either. And back in November 2005, nobody had any clue about whether costs would be affordable enough to entice seniors into the new program …
Medicare Part D had a sweeping, year-long campaign that began well in advance of the program’s launch. The Obama administration has decided to focus its efforts differently. It will do most of its outreach push in the late summer and early fall. The White House and its allies worry that if they begin their pitch too soon they’ll be selling a product that is nowhere near landing on the shelves.
The law, judging by conservative response and public polling, remains controversial, and taking a position on the program might risk alienating some NBA fans. But for the same demographic reasons that make the partnership appealing to the White House, it could be appealing to the NBA. Market research shows that blacks, Latinos, young adults, and Americans with low and low-middle incomes make up larger shares of the NBA’s fan base than they do of the general population, and all four of those groups are more likely to view both Obama and his policies more favorably. So while conservatives may be loud in their opposition, it’s hard to believe that their distaste for health care reform would take the form of concerted action like a boycott that would try to hurt the league economically. The NBA has embraced other issues that rankle conservatives, like climate change, environmentalism, and equal rights for LGBT Americans, without backlash.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernstein expects confusion over what’s included in the health care reform law to lead to cries of “keep your Obamacare away from my Affordable Care Act”:
[U]nder the hood, there is all sorts of government intervention going on—all sorts of new regulations about what insurance companies can do, how they must spend their money, what products they are allowed to offer through the exchanges. But that’s all going to become invisible to consumers over time. Even things which, for the first group of exchange users, will seem like a big deal. For those currently without the insurance they want because of a pre-existing condition, becoming newly eligible for coverage will be an obvious effect of Obamacare. But for the next generation (and I mean in as short a time as a year), most people will have no idea that they would previously have been bounced—just as almost no one will realize that they would have once been subjected to yearly and lifetime benefits caps, or would previously have been at risk for a rescission if they ever filed a claim.