Americans Are Leery Of Affordable Care Act As A Whole, But Like Many Individual Provisions

June 21, 2012, 4:18 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/16/2012) On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the American public remains sharply divided about the law. According to an Economist/YouGov survey from June 9-11, 39% of Americans would like to see the law repealed. Conversely, 24% would like to see the law expanded and 10% would like to see it kept the same.

Not surprisingly, the parties are sharply divided on this issue. 80% of Republicans would like to see the law repealed. 43% of Democrats would like to see it expanded, and an additional 18% would like to see it kept the same. Independents are closer to Republicans on this issue — the percentage of them who would like to see the law repealed is nearly double the percentage of those who would like to see it expanded or kept the same combined. Importantly, however, large percentages of Democrats and independents (27% and 28%, respectively) are not sure what they want the fate of the health care law to be.

Their overall views about the ACA notwithstanding, most Americans support many of the law’s individual provisions. In an earlier Economist/YouGov survey
(March 24-27), more than half of respondents expressed support for such components of the law 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 for those with pre-existing conditions. That said, there was one key component of the law to which respondents objected (and to which they continue to object): the individual mandate to purchase health insurance. To a large degree, opposition to the individual mandate appears to be driving opposition to the law as a whole.

In addition to their disapproval of the individual mandate, many Americans might also be opposed to the ACA because they worry it will have an adverse impact on the cost of health care for themselves. In the March 24-27 poll, over half of respondents indicated they thought that the health care law will cause them to spend more money on health care. Only 10% thought the amount of money they will spend on health care will decrease as a result of the law.