Among all adults, nearly half think the law will not affect them at all, while among uninsured adults, just over one-quarter say that. And while a nearly 4 in 10 plurality of uninsured Americans think the health care law will hurt them personally, they are twice as likely as the general public to say the law will help them.You can't figure out from that what either group said about thinking that the law would help them. I'll be interested to see how low those numbers are. It could be as high as 6 out of 10 and 3 out of 10 or much lower — 2 out of 10 and 1 out of 10 or worse. [ADDED: If 4 in 10 is indeed a "plurality," then 3 out of 10 for the uninsured think the law will help. You can figure that out. And that would mean that 1.5 out of 10 in the "general public" think it will help them. I guess the "general public" includes this uninsured, so the numbers of already-insured who think it will help them must be less that 1.5. I am relying on precision in the NYT language.]
The promise was that vast majorities of Americans would be helped, including nearly everyone with inadequate or no insurance, and that nearly all of the rest would remain [at worst] in a neutral position, keeping what they had if they liked it. So we are experiencing a monumental reversal of expectations. It's hard to fathom how crushed people feel, both in having the huge promise so badly broken and in having so much upheaval with such an effect on one's personal finances and physical well-being.
This is so different from other huge events in American politics. One political party chose to cause this great disruption. It's not like a terrorist attack or a war that demands that we change. It was chosen, and it was chosen with no decent understanding of how difficult a disruption it would be.
I think back to something Michelle Obama said in early 2008, which seemed ominous to some even then:
Barack Obama... is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.Maybe it's true that Barack has successfully prevented us from getting back to our lives as usual, our lives that many of us liked and wanted to keep. And it's true that he demanded that we shed our cynicism, and that was only the most ironic of the many way that he inspired our cynicism.