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58% Expect Health Care To Cost More Under Obamacare

Monday, December 30, 2013

At the end of the year that Obamacare made its official debut, most voters still believe the new law will drive up health care costs, increase the deficit and hurt the quality of health care in this country.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Likely U.S. Voters view the health care law at least somewhat unfavorably, with 41% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% share a favorable view of the law, including 17% with a Very Favorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Unfavorables are down only slightly from an all-time high of 58% in mid-November.  Favorables fell to a record low of 36% in that same survey.

In surveys for years, voters have identified cost as their number one health care concern, but 58% now believe the cost of health care will go up under the new law. That’s down from a recent high of 61% late last month but generally in line with attitudes in recent months. Only 20% expect those costs to go down, while 15% think they will stay about the same.

Despite the anticipated increase in costs, just 26% believe that the quality of health care will get better under Obamacare. For the second month in a row, 51% think the quality of care will get worse. That’s the most pessimistic assessment of the law’s impact in over two years. Seventeen percent (17%) feel quality will stay about the same.

Seventy-four percent (74%) say it is at least somewhat likely that the new health care law will cost more than officially estimated, with 55% who feel it is Very Likely. Just 17% think it is not very or Not At All Likely that the law will exceed cost estimates. Ten percent (10%) are not sure. These attitudes have changed little all year.

So it’s no surprise that 51% expect the new law to increase the federal deficit. Only 18% think the law will decrease the deficit as its supporters promised, while another 18% say it will have no impact. Thirteen percent (13%) are undecided. This is consistent with views since late 2011.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 27-28, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Twelve percent (12%) of voters say they already personally have been helped by the health care law, while 30% say they have been hurt by it. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say their health insurance coverage has changed because of the law.

Democrats remain much more supportive of the new law than other voters are. Seventy-one percent (71%) of voters in President Obama’s party view Obamacare favorably, while 88% of Republicans and 59% of voters not affiliated with either major party have an unfavorable opinion of it.

Accordingly, Democrats are far less pessimistic about the law’s impact. For example, while 87% of GOP voters and 56% of unaffiliateds expect the law to force up the cost of health care, just 36% of Democrats agree. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans and 53% of unaffiliated voters think the quality of health care will get worse, but that view is shared by only 25% of Democrats.

Men are more critical of the new law than women are. Blacks have a much higher opinion of it that whites and other minority voters do.

Voters who view the law favorably believe very strongly that it will lower health care costs and improve the quality of medicine in America. Those with an unfavorable opinion of the law feel even more strongly that costs will go up and the quality of health care will suffer.

Only 37% of all voters believe it’s at least somewhat likely that the current problems with the health care law will be fixed within the next year.

Voters overwhelmingly want to change or repeal the law, including 50% who want to scrap it completely and start over again.

Opposition to the law’s requirement that every American buy or obtain health insurance has hit an all-time high of 58%. Because of the problems surrounding the rollout of the health care law since October 1, the Obama administration announced just before Christmas that this individual mandate will be delayed for several months for some Americans.

For a closer look at what voters think of the law at year's end, click here.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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