A new report from the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 27 recent polls asking Americans' opinions about the Affordable Care Act and found some surprising insights. Overall, the ACA grew more popular since its initial implementation and more popular since Donald Trump took office in January. 49% now say they approve of the law and 44% express disapproval.
Unsurprisingly, however, party affiliation predicts respondents opinions. While 51% of all those polled want Congress to work to fix the law, two thirds of Republicans want the law repealed. Other interesting findings from the study include the following:
- 50% oppose removing the controversial individual mandate, while 48% want to see it go. This is a marked shift for what has been one of the least popular parts of the ACA.
- 87% of Democrats favor a major role for the government in healthcare, while only 28% of Republicans feel the same.
- 63% would like to see the federal government expand healthcare coverage even if it cost the taxpayers more. Democrats are more likely to back this position than Republicans by a sizable margin.
- One thing 60% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans agree on is that the ACA has had little effect on them personally.
- Of those whom it has effected, more believe helped than hurt by the law. However, 16% of all Americans (that's almost 1 in 6) believe they have been hurt by it.
- About 1/3 believe that insurers should be able to offer plans with less benefits, while 1/4 believes that insurers should be able to charge more for those with pre-existing conditions.
- Most people (72%) want to keep the number of Medicaid enrollees as it currently stands. This includes a slight majority of Republicans (52%).
The study concludes that Americans have strong opinions and the parties remain quite divided on the appropriate way to move forward with healthcare legislation. They note that there is not necessarily even consensus within the parties as to the best approach.
They also see an uptick in support for the idea of universal coverage.
..the most important change over time was not the increase in public approval of the ACA, but rather the increase in overall support for universal coverage. When confronted with millions of people losing coverage, the public became more supportive of the principle that the federal government should ensure coverage for them.
Read the whole study here, and let us know how you would have responded in the comments below.