Adverse Reaction

By Bill Maher

According to a recent Georgetown University Health Policy Institute study, before Medicare Part D -- the prescription drug benefit -- launched in 2005, only 21 percent of the public liked it. It was less popular than Obamacare. Its approval rating today? 90 percent. 

People don't like change -- especially old people. Eight years ago, they were scared to death. They didn't know how much it would cost. They were confused about the process of enrolling -- only about 20 percent of seniors said they would. Well, 53 percent did, it was less expensive than the Congressional Budget Office predicted and, after some hiccups, everybody liked it.

In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 70 percent of Americans said they don't understand Obamacare. But 44 percent are sure they hate it. How can you be so sure you hate something you don't understand? Why do pollsters even bother asking people questions about a program they admit being ignorant about? "What do you understand about Obamacare?" "Nothing." "Okay, please opine on medical loss ratio." Stop asking until people have actually experienced it.

Yes, Obamacare is complicated. But what public policy isn't? Even Medicare -- a single payer system -- isn't that simple: not all doctors take it, there are co-pay and coverage questions, etc. 

David Frum said on our show that it's just too complicated to take on all at once. Back in April, President Obama said that 85 to 90 percent of Americans don't have to do anything -- they just have a bunch of new protections, like no lifetime caps on their coverage.

I thought Americans were the "can do" people. We can't do 15 percent? No, no, let's not exert ourselves.