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Obamacare: Voters vs. SCOTUS

Thursday, March 26, 2015

President Obama yesterday celebrated the fifth anniversary of Congress’ passage of his national health care law, but most Americans still don’t like it.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Likely U.S. Voters view the law unfavorably, while 44% share a favorable opinion of Obamacare. This includes 15% with a Very Favorable view and 35% with a Very Unfavorable one.

Democrats continue to be strong fans of the law. Most Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party don’t care for it. Generally speaking, the older the voter, the more critical he or she is likely to be.

Just after the first of the year, overall unfavorables fell below 50% for the first time since October 2013 but now appear to have rebounded to levels seen in surveys for several years.   Prior to that survey, favorables for the law ranged from 36% to 46% since the beginning of 2013, while unfavorables ran as high as 58%. Passion remains on the side of the opponents with Very Unfavorables continuing to outdistance Very Favorables.

Only 13% of all voters believe the law should remain as originally passed by Democrats in Congress. Not a single Republican voted for it. A plurality (46%) continues to think Congress and the president should go through the law piece by piece and improve it, but that’s down from a high of 52% in November. Thirty-five percent (35%) say they should repeal the entire law and start over.

Sixteen percent (16%) say they have been helped by the law. More than twice as many (35%) say they have been hurt by it instead. Forty-seven percent (47%) still have felt no impact, but that number has been inching down from the mid-50s since the law formally went into effect in November 2013.

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The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to rule later this year on a major legal challenge of the health care law that would eliminate the taxpayer-funded subsidies for many of those who have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare. Nearly half (48%) of voters think it’s a good idea to hold up the law until court cases like this are resolved

The cost of health care  has been voters’ number one concern in surveys since the current health care debate began several years ago. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think reducing the cost of health care is more important than mandating that everyone in America have health insurance.

Supporters of Obamacare argue that this so-called individual mandate will reduce the current cost of health care. But most voters continue to believe those costs will go up, not down, as a result of the new law.

 

Just 26% think the quality of health care will improve because of the law. Forty-four percent (44%) expect the quality of care to get worse.

Seventy-four percent (74%) think the law is likely to cost taxpayers more than projected by its supporters.

Also factor in that most voters have health insurance they like. But as recently as late November, 39% said their health insurance had changed as a result of the health care law, and 66% of those voters said the change had been for the worse.

Voters continue to favor more individual cost and coverage options than the law allows. 

A big problem for Obamacare opponents, though, is the growing number of Americans who have bought subsidized health insurance through the federal or state exchanges established under the law. Nineteen percent (19%) of voters say they or a member of their immediate family now have bought health insurance this way, up from four percent (4%) when the exchanges first opened in late 2013. 

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