(Week of 3/24/2012) Americans continue to worry about what the Affordable Health Care Act, passed two years ago and now being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, means for them. Two in five respondents in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll would like to see the law repealed.
Repeal of the act, something supported by all the current GOP presidential candidates, is desired by four in five Republicans. 46% of independents want repeal as well, compared with only 12% of Democrats. 36% of Democrats and a quarter of independents want the act’s coverage expanded.
Many in the public are conflicted: they support many of the law’s provisions, but still see increased health care costs and little health care improvement for themselves. Only the mandate to require individual health care coverage is opposed by a majority; a plurality favors an employer mandate. Half or more support such provisions as coverage for adult children, requiring insurers to provide a minimum package of benefits, preventing insurers from charging more to those in poor health, and requiring insurers to provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.
Republicans generally favor insurer requirements (though sometimes narrowly), but oppose any additional taxes on upper-income Americans and subsidies for middle-income people.
Relatively few people claim to have been personally affected by health care changes so far: 26% say the law has affected them, but it has had an apparently partisan impact. 48% of Republicans claim they have been personally affected; and over nine in ten of them say the impact has been negative. Few Democrats (19%) report that they have been affected by the changes.
The concern over the so-called "Obamacare" health care law has been long-standing.
Americans worried that it would increase prices without improving benefits even before the law was passed. Now, 51% say they expect their health care costs will rise because of the bill, slightly lower than the 54% who expected at the time the bill became law that health care costs would increase by 2012. More than a third then — and more than a third now — expect that the health care they receive will get worse. Only 12% in this week’s poll think it will improve.
Only 11% of Americans describe health care as their most important issue; but Democrats are nearly three times as likely as Republicans to think that. When the bill was passed, about twice as many cited health care as their most important issue. However, at both times concern about the economy far outweighed health care worries.
As of today, just 37% approve of the way the President is handling health care. 50% disapprove. Slightly more approved when the Affordable Health Care Act became law.
Photo source: Press Association