Shocker: Obamacare customers are happy with their coverage

It’s not exactly news that the American healthcare system is a broken mess that delivers lower-quality care at outrageous prices. It’s also not news that the Affordable Care Act is at best a bandage addressing the very worst abuses of the system.

That hasn’t prevented conservatives from demagoguing against the ACA for their own political advantage, which has combined with a bungled website rollout to damage the popularity of the program.

That said, lo and behold: people who are actually enrolled in the ACA seem to like it pretty well:

Over seven in 10 Americans who bought new health insurance policies through the government exchanges earlier this year rate the quality of their healthcare and their healthcare coverage as “excellent” or “good.” These positive evaluations are generally similar to the reviews that all insured Americans give to their health insurance.

Among those who bought new health insurance policies through the exchanges, the majority are about as satisfied with their coverage and healthcare as are other Americans — suggesting that the end result of the exchange enrollment process is a generally positive one for those who take advantage of it. Americans who still lack health insurance will have the opportunity to buy coverage when the national insurance marketplace exchanges open again on Nov. 15.

One lesson from 2014 should be that running away from the accomplishments of the ACA will not help. Democrats need to celebrate its achievements, tout the positive feedback from those enrolled in the program, and then pledge to fix what is still broken about the system. That won’t be hard, since most of what is dysfunctional about the ACA was already dysfunctional before the ACA was passed.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.