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77% Think Health Care Law Likely To Cost More Than Projected

Monday, February 03, 2014

More voters than ever predict the new national health care law is likely to cost more than projected, and most continue to believe it will cost them more personally, too.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters share a favorable opinion of the health care law, while 53% view it unfavorably. This includes 18% with a Very Favorable opinion and 42% with a Very Unfavorable one. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These attitudes are essentially unchanged from a week ago and are consistent with views of Obamacare since its passage by Congress in March 2010. Unfavorables hit a high of 58% in mid-November. Favorables fell to a record low of 36% in that same survey.

But 77% now think the law is at least somewhat likely to cost more than official estimates, with 56% who say it is Very Likely. That overall figure is up from 74% a month ago and the highest level of doubt in more than a year of regular surveying. Just 15% believe the law is not very or Not At All Likely to cost more than projected.

Fifty percent (50%) say the new law will increase the federal deficit, while 15% believe it will reduce the deficit instead. Twenty-one percent (21%) say it will have no impact on the amount of federal debt. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure. This is in line with findings for over two years now.

While voters have cited cost as their primary health care concern in surveys for years, 58% now expect the cost of health care to go up under the new law. That’s unchanged from a month ago but down from a recent high of 61% in late November. Only 17% believe that health care costs will go down, while another 17% say they will stay about the same.

Even with the additional money going into the system, just 26% of voters believe the quality of health care will get better under the new law. A plurality (46%) still expects health care quality to worsen, but that’s a five-point improvement from last month when 51% expected quality to suffer. Twenty percent (20%) say quality will remain about the same.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on January 31-February 1, 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.

Nearly 90% of voters have health insurance, and roughly 80% have rated that insurance good or excellent in surveys for years. But nearly one-out-of-three (32%) now say their health insurance coverage has changed because of the new health care law. 

The majority of Democrats continue to view the new law favorably, while most Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party do not.

Most voters in the president’s party agree that the law is likely to cost more than projected, although they don’t believe that nearly as strongly as the others do. But while 85% of Republicans and 61% of unaffiliated voters think health care costs will go up because of Obamacare, only 34% of Democrats agree.

A plurality (46%) of Democrats says the quality of care will improve as a result of the new law. Seventy-three percent (73%) of GOP voters and 53% of unaffiliateds expect the quality of care to get worse.

Predictably, those with a favorable opinion of the law tend to think it will improve quality and keep costs down, while voters who view the law unfavorably feel even more strongly that the law will hurt quality and force up costs.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of the Political Class view the health care law favorably. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Mainstream voters have an unfavorable opinion of it.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of all voters now consider health care to be Very Important in terms of how they will vote in the next congressional election in November. That’s slightly less importance than they attached to it four months ago.

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

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