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31% Expect Health Care To Improve Under New Law

Monday, January 06, 2014

Voters continue to give their own health care high marks but remain critical of the overall health care system in this country. For the first time in nearly a year, however, fewer than 50% expect the health care system to get worse under Obamacare.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 34% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the U.S. health care system to be good or excellent. Nearly as many (31%) rate the system as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Positive views of the overall health care system have ranged from 32% to 43% in regular surveys since November 2012, while the system has earned poor marks from 19% to 31% in the same period.

But 81% rate the quality of the health care they personally receive as good or excellent, while just five percent (5%) view that care as poor. That’s consistent with surveying for well over a year.

Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters now think the U.S. health care system is likely to get better under the new national health care law, the highest level of optimism to date. Forty-eight (48%) believe it’s more likely to get worse, but that’s down eight points from 56% a month ago and the least pessimistic finding since February of last year. Thirteen percent (13%) think the health care system will stay about the same.

Last week, though, for the second month in a row, 51% of voters said they expect the quality of health care to worsen under the new law. Most voters also still dislike Obamacare and expect it to increase health care costs.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 4, 2014 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.

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.

Eighty-nine percent (89%) of voters say they have health insurance, and 81% of those voters rate their coverage as good or excellent. Only five percent (5%) describe their own health insurance coverage as poor.

Consistent with previous surveying, 85% of those with health insurance consider the health care they receive to be good or excellent. Among voters who are not insured, just 43% feel that way. Voters with health insurance are only slightly more positive, though, about the overall health care system.

Fifty percent (50%) of insured voters say the health care system is likely to worsen under the new law, compared to 45% of those without health insurance.

Twenty-seven percent (27%) say their health insurance coverage has changed because of the law.

Voters under 40 are more critical of the health care system than their elders are.

Sizable majorities of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters give good or excellent marks to the health care they currently receive. Yet while 58% of Democrats think that health care will get better under Obamacare, 81% of Republicans and 55% of unaffiliateds believe it’s more likely to get worse.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor last week delayed implementation of the new law’s requirement that every employer offer its women employees a health care plan that includes free birth control. Religious groups and some employers are challenging the law in court as a violation of their religious beliefs. Voters by a 51% to 38% margin oppose the health care law’s contraceptive mandate.

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.

Nineteen percent (19%) of Americans believe their health will be better than it is today at the end of 2014, but that compares to 30% who predicted a year ago that their health would be better by now.

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

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