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The latest Gallup poll, released Thursday, suggests lagging support for the Affordable Care Act’s online exchanges by those newly eligible for insurance under the law.

But before conservatives take a victory lap, a close look at the numbers shows the law’s grand potential.

According to the poll, a majority 59 percent of uninsured visitors to the exchanges report having a negative experience on the site; just 39 percent had a good experience. The number of visitors who cited their interaction with an exchange as negative fell from Gallup’s previous two polls, in which 63 percent of those polled said the same.

While this reduction is not a slam-dunk for the Obama administration, other data in the poll may suggest a growth spurt of enrollees in the coming months.

The administration recently announced that about two million people have successfully registered for insurance policies on either the federal website or a state-run exchange—despite just 26 percent of uninsured Americans visiting a health care exchange website, the Gallup poll shows. The majority of enrollees signed up in December, especially the last half of December, when a January 1 deadline drew closer.

However, that 26 percent figure could be slightly skewed. Gallup explains: “Since the December result covers interviews across the entire month, it could slightly underestimate the actual percentage of uninsured Americans who have visited an exchange site if proportionately more visited near the end of the month.”

Nevertheless, the pollsters at Gallup believe this upward trend in the latter half of December shows the number of enrollees will continue to increase as more people visit the sites and have a positive experience, saying:

The rise in exchange visits in December could, to some degree, reflect improvements in the health insurance exchange websites, as people who wanted to sign up for insurance were more easily able to do so. Also, the increased exchange website traffic may be due to procrastination on the part of those seeking insurance. Uninsured Americans still have time in 2014 to sign up for insurance and avoid paying a fine, so exchange visits may continue to increase.

One issue, they point out, could significantly hinder the growth of uninsured enrollees: negative experiences on the exchange sites. The potential to sign up millions of uninsured Americans will not be realized if the exchange sites do not function properly.

AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski


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From left Reps. Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Louis Gohmert

Screenshot from The Hill video

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and three other “Sedition Caucus” Republicans held a press conference Tuesday allegedly to decry the conditions at the D.C. jail, which is housing accused suspects awaiting trial for actions during the January 6 Capitol riot. But Greene and her three co-members used the event primarily to further false far-right claims about the insurrection, while wrongly claiming they are being “persecuted” by the government – a talking point Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly used.

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir.

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