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54% Have Felt No Impact from Obamacare

Monday, October 14, 2013

Most voters still don’t like the new national health care law but also say it has had no impact on them so far.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Likely U.S. Voters share at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the law, while 52% view it at least somewhat unfavorably, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Overall favorables for the law are the highest of the year. Last week marked the first time in several months that the law’s unfavorables fell below 50%. The newest findings include 20% with a Very Favorable opinion and twice as many (41%) with a Very Unfavorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifteen percent (15%) say they have been helped by the law, while 27% say they have been hurt by it. Fifty-four percent (54%) say the law has had no impact on them, the highest finding to date this year.

One-out-of-four voters (25%) say their health insurance coverage has changed as a result of the health care law, down from a high of 41% in April.  Sixty-two percent (62%) say their coverage has not changed, but 13% more are not sure.

While the new law greatly expands the role of the federal government in health care, most voters continue to prefer leaving things to the free market instead. Fifty-eight percent (58%) think greater free market competition between insurance companies would do more than increased government regulation to reduce health care costs. Only 27% see more government regulation as a better cost-reducer. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided.

Similarly, 54% believe letting states compete to determine the most effective standards and guidelines will do more to reduce health care costs than having the federal government establish a single set of health care standards. Thirty-three percent (33%) believe a single set of government standards would be a more effective way to reduce health care costs. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Voter attitudes about both these questions have changed very little in regular surveying all year.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 12-13, 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.

The health care law is central to the current impasse over the partial federal government shutdown. Fifty-one percent (51%) of voters would rather have Congress end the shutdown by authorizing spending for the health care law at existing levels. Forty-one percent (41%) would rather continue the shutdown until spending for the law is cut.

Senior citizens continue to be the biggest critics of the health care law, while most voters under 40 have a favorable opinion of it.

Democrats remain much bigger fans of Obamacare than Republicans and unaffiliated voters are. Twenty-five percent (25%) of voters in President Obama’s party say they have already been helped by the new law. Forty-four percent (44%) of GOP voters and 30% of unaffiliateds say they have been hurt by it.

But then Republicans and unaffiliated voters are three times as likely as Democrats to say their health insurance coverage has changed because of the law. Democrats are far less enthusiastic than the others about increasing free market competition to lower health care costs.

Voters who favor more free market competition have a much less favorable opinion of the health care law than those who prefer greater government involvement in the marketplace.

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans say they are paying more for health care than they were last year, but nearly as many (48%) think the private sector, not the federal government, is the way to keep those costs down.

Fewer Americans say they are paying more for drugs these days. The number who say they’ve postponed a medical procedure due to cost is also down from past years.

But 28% think doctors are paid too much.

Most voters still predict that the law will cost more than projected and will increase, not reduce, health care costs.

Thirty percent (30%) believe the nation’s health care system will get better under the new law. Fifty-one percent (51%) still think the law will make the health care system worse.

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

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