Health care website woes: Are things improving?

December 20, 2013, 2:32 PM GMT+0

The number of Americans saying that health care reform has been a success is increasing, but even now most still say that it's a failure.

Most Americans who attempted to use the government’s troubled website when it first went live in October were severely disappointed, annoyed and/or angry with what they found (or couldn’t find) there. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that, as of December 1, “we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”

But have they met this goal? The last two Economist/YouGov polls asked Americans who have attempted to use the website to rate it – and also asked exactly when their website experience occurred. Perceptions have improved as time has gone by, but more people still say they have had a negative experience using the site.

More than half who say they visited the site in the last few weeks still say they had a negative experience. However, the percentages evaluating their experience as positive is now 37%, up from 19% of those who tried the site when it first went live in October. But the percentage reporting negative experiences hasn’t changed much.

Although those currently without health insurance coverage are more likely than those with coverage to report visiting the site, 54% of those without coverage in this month’s two polls admit they haven’t tried to visit the site yet, suggesting that many people are still waiting to try the site, or have decided that they won’t. Most of the site’s visitors already have some form of health insurance.

So overall, views of the Affordable Care Act remain negative. This week, 55% of the public say the law is a failure. There has been little change in this perception for weeks.

And nearly half the public continues to want to repeal the law. While those who have used the website also are more likely to want to repeal the law, far more of them this month say the law should be expanded. 33% of website visitors would expand the law. Just one in five of those who have not logged in agree.

Opinions about the President’s handling of what he hoped would be his signature accomplishment remain low, with most of the public disapproving of his performance. Democrats remain positive, however. 70% of Democrats approve of the President’s handling of health care, higher than Democratic approval on any other specific issue.

Overall approval is similar to the health care approval rating. This week, 40% approve of the way the President is handling his job overall.

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.

Join YouGov today! Your views can shape the news...