Polling review: Health care reform likely to be unpopular

General, Politics

As the president and the Republicans in Congress gear up for another attempt to pass health care reform, a recent review of CBS polling shows that they may find opposition from the American public.  

Most Americans – 53 percent — would rather they move onto other issues. But an attempt to pass a new health care bill does find support with the Republicans base. Three in four Republicans want the President and Congress to try to pass a new health care bill, in contrast to the majorities of Democrats and independents who would rather they concentrate their efforts elsewhere.

Donald Trump and Congress Should…

                                                                        Total        Reps      Dems     Inds

              Try to pass a health care bill              43%         77%       19%       41%

              Move on to other issues                     53            20           78          54

But that’s not to say Americans think the Affordable Care Act is perfect: just 12 percent of Americans think the law should be kept in place as is. In contrast, 61 percent think that while there are some good things in the law, changes are needed to make it work better. Still, most who say that changes are needed would rather move on to other issues. Most Americans who want the ACA replaced and repealed entirely want to see another attempt at a health care bill, but they make up just 24 percent of Americans overall. 

The 2010 Affordable Care Act…

                                                                       Total                 Reps    Dems   Inds    

Should be kept in place as is                          12%                 4%      19%     11%

Needs some changes                                      61                     50        72        59       

Needs to be repealed and replaced                 24                     44          6        26

Though they never represented a majority, the percentage of Americans that has favored a complete repeal of the ACA has steadily declined since its rollout in the fall of 2013. Back then, 43 percent wanted the law repealed entirely.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act Needs to Be Repealed Entirely

Now                3/2017             12/2016           1/2016             2/2015              2/2014             11/2013

24%                 23%                 25%                 35%                 32%                 42%                 43%

The attempt to replace the Affordable Care Act comes at a time when many Americans approve of the 2010 law. When last asked in March, 49 percent of Americans said they approved of Obamacare. This rating is 18 percentage points above the all-time low of 31 percent recorded in November 2013 right after the law’s much criticized initial roll out, and 12 points higher than when it was signed into law in March 2010. 

The 2010 Affordable Care Act

                                  3/2017             2/2017             1/2017             11/2013           3/2010

Approve                      49%                 46%                48%                 31%                 37%

Disapprove                  45                    49                    47                      61                    48

But while overall approval is up, strong support seems to be down. When broken down, the percentage of Americans who strongly approve of the law is down from February. So the public’s approval of the law is not without reservations.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act

                                               3/2017             2/2017             1/2017             11/2013           3/2010

Strongly approve                    20%                 27%                 24%                 15%                 13%

Somewhat approve                 29                    19                      24                    16                    24

Somewhat disapprove            13                    14                     15                    15                    15

Strongly disapprove                32                    35                     32                    46                    33

Democrats and independents, liberals and moderates, women, adults under the age of 45, and Americans who live in cities tend to approve of the Affordable Care Act, while most Republicans and conservatives, seniors 65 and older, and rural Americans are more likely to disapprove. Americans earning under $50,000 a year as well as those earning over $100,000 a year approve of the law – though Americans earning in the middle tend to oppose it. Support for the law also tends to increase with education level.

In recent polling, Obamacare finds some of its strongest support among the kinds of groups who its expanded coverage was most meant to benefit. Americans who rely on Medicaid or insurance from a state or federal marketplace overwhelmingly approve of the current system. In contrast, Americans with private insurance – whose insurance may or may not have been affected by the ACA’s implementation – are divided. Medicare recipients – the majority of whom are seniors – tend to disapprove.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act

                                                       Approve          Disapprove

Total                                                    49%                 45                   

Republicans                                        20%                77

Democrats                                           74%                19

Independents                                      49%                44

Liberals                                               77%                 17

Moderates                                           53%                39

Conservatives                                     26%                 69

Men                                                     47%                 47

Women                                                51%                 43

Age 18-29                                           57%                 36

Age 30-44                                           59%                 35

Age 45-64                                           47%                 49

Age 65+                                              34%                 57

Cities                                                   59%                 38

Suburbs                                              50%                 43

Rural                                                    35%                 57

The 2010 Affordable Care Act

                                                         Approve          Disapprove

Income <$50K                                     51%                 39

Income $50K-$100K                            45%                 51

Income $100K+                                   53%                 46

High school or less                             43%                 47

College graduates                               50%                 45

Post graduates                                    70%                 27

Type of Insurance

Private: Employer, union, or other       48%                 49

Obamacare/Medicaid                          67%                 27

Medicare                                             41%                  52

Most Americans say it’s at least somewhat easy for them to get the health care they need, and more than half say they are at least somewhat satisfied with their health care costs. 

Despite their disapproval of the Affordable Care Act, seniors 65 and older who are on Medicare are among the most satisfied with the ease with which they get care and the cost of their care. 

66% say it’s at least somewhat easy to get the care they need, and 69% are at least somewhat happy with their health care costs.

Satisfaction increases as income and education levels increase, though Americans of all levels tend to be more satisfied than dissatisfied. Even most Republicans agree with most Democrats and independents on this, though politics may still play a role: most Americans who voted for Donald Trump say they are dissatisfied. 

Satisfied with Your Health Care Costs

                                                            Total                Reps    Dems   Inds

Satisfied                                               53%                 52%     59%    50%

Dissatisfied                                            43                    45        41       45

Source: CBS News – Politics

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