Most Democrats don't think Obamacare went far enough and want a 'single-payer' system, something Republicans overwhelmingly oppose.
Following a rough rollout of Obamacare's online health insurance marketplace (healthcare.gov), increased scrutiny has fallen upon the department in charge of the law's implementation, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and it's head, Kathleen Sebelius. Over the last two weeks she has faced calls for her resignation, but the Obama administration has defended Sebelius and the law itself. In testimony before Congress, however, the contractors responsible for the website have shifted the blame onto the administration, saying that important decisions on the structure of the website were taken too late in the day.
According to the latest YouGov research, most people (69%) are satisfied with their current health insurance coverage, meaning it is perhaps unsurprising then, that Americans tend to prefer the current system, in which most costs are paid by individuals and employers (44%), to one where the government pays for healthcare (35%) (the so-called 'single payer' system). Most Democrats (53%), however, would prefer a single-payer system where the federal government picks up the tab, rather than the current system, which Obamacare would largely leave untouched.
A majority of Americans (58%) approve of using federal tax dollars to pay for prescription drugs for people enrolled in federal government health programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Under half (45%) are in favor of using tax dollars to provide subsidies for low income families in order to buy health insurance, a key component of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Support is largely partisan, with Democrats more supportive, and Republicans less supportive, but all parties are more supportive of supporting drug prescriptions for those enrolled in government programs, over subsidizing health insurance.
George W. Bush instituted the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, which greatly increased federal aid to seniors buying prescription drugs. President Obama pointed out in a recent interview that the prescription drug plan less popular at inception than Obamacare is now, according to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
When asked about support for specific government health programs, the most widely supported is the Veterans Health Administration, which even half of Republicans (50%) oppose elimating. A majority of Democrats oppose elimating any of the programs, while a majority of Independents oppose the elimination of the Medicare and Veteran program.
As a testament to how prominently healthcare features in American politics, YouGov's polling shows that when deciding whom to support in the 2014 elections, many Americans rank the candidate's position on healthcare as more important than their position on the recent shutdown, which suspended many federal government services for 16 days. However, party differences still impact how important each issue is to voters. For Democrats and Independents both are similarly important, but significantly more Republicans consider a candidate's stance on healthcare to be more important than their position on the shutdown, by a margin of 19 percentage points.
General favorability for Ms. Sebelius between Oct 21-22, came in at only 14%, though many (44%) don't know what department she heads up. Democrats (49%) in particular are unaware of what Sebelius does, and Republicans are more aware - and are significantly less likely to hold favorable opinions of her.
Full poll results can be found here.