Poll: Few Respondents Want Supreme Court To Keep Reform Law Intact
Just 25% of respondents to a New York Times/CBS News poll want the Supreme Court to keep the federal health reform law intact, despite large majorities supporting some of the law's major provisions, the New York Times reports.
The poll -- which surveyed 986 individuals between March 21 and March 25 -- found that 47% oppose the overhaul, while 36% approve of it. Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say they understand the health reform law. Of those who said they understand the overhaul:
- 51% oppose the law, including 40% who said that they strongly disapprove of it; and
- 45% approve the law (Sussman et al., New York Times, 3/26).
- About 56% of Democrats approve of the law, while about 75% of Republicans disapprove of it. More than 80% of very conservative respondents said they oppose the overhaul.
However, fewer than 50% of respondents said they have a good understanding of the overhaul (Sussman, "The Caucus," New York Times, 3/26).
Reasons for Opposing Overhaul
Opponents of the overhaul cited several reasons for their distaste for the law, including:
- They worry that the overhaul will increase their health costs;
- They are concerned that it will limit their access to care;
- They agree with Republican claims that many employers will not be able to afford health plans for workers and will be forced to eliminate jobs; and
- They think the law injects too much government into the medical system.
Support for Certain Provisions
However, the poll also found that a majority of respondents were in favor of several major provisions in the overhaul. The poll found:
- 85% of respondents approve of the provision requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions;
- 77% approve of the provision lowering the cost of prescription medications for Medicare beneficiaries; and
- 68% approve of allowing children to remain on a parent's health plan until age 26.
The contrast between respondents' view of the overhaul overall and their view of its components suggests that the law's opponents have been more successful at swaying public opinion than the Obama administration, according to the Times (New York Times, 3/26).
Separate Poll Finds Two-Thirds of U.S. Residents Oppose Individual Mandate
In a separate poll conducted by United Technologies/National Journal, two-thirds of respondents said they oppose the individual mandate, while 28% said they support it, National Journal reports.
The poll -- which surveyed 1,003 individuals between March 22 and March 25 -- found demographic divides in respondents' attitudes toward the law and efforts to expand insurance coverage. According to the poll:
- 68% of nonwhite respondents said they support the law, compared with 33% of white respondents;
- 37% of college-educated white men support the law, compared with 51% of college-educated white women; and
- About 66% of nonwhite respondents said Congress should maintain the overhaul's provisions to expand insurance coverage, while between 38% and 49% of whites favor repeal (Brownstein, National Journal, 3/27).
Health Experts Say Individual Mandate Will Not Affect Many U.S. Residents
In related news, the health reform law's individual mandate likely would have little effect on most U.S. residents, according to two health experts, Politico reports.
According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber, the individual mandate likely would affect about 25 million U.S. residents in 2014, most of whom are younger and have been taking the risk of going without health coverage even if they could afford it. "I think this is a point the law's supporters haven't emphasized enough: The mandate really applies to a select set of people," Gruber said.
Joe Antos of the American Enterprise Institute, who opposes the law, said that the individual mandate "would affect nobody." He said the GOP's resistance to the requirement is more a result of "the federal government telling you to do something that is your personal business," rather than fear that the requirement will force millions of U.S. residents to purchase coverage they do not want (Feder, Politico, 3/26).
Fewer Employers Plan To Drop Insurance Coverage, Survey Finds
The number of employers that expect to drop insurance coverage because of the federal health reform law declined from 22% in 2010 to 6% in 2012, according to a poll by the Midwest Business Group on Health, Modern Healthcare reports. The poll surveyed 437 employers ranging from those with fewer than 50 workers to those with more than 50,000 employees.
The poll found that 42% of respondents think the Supreme Court should uphold the overhaul, while the same percentage believe the law should be struck down. However, fewer than 21% think the court will uphold the law without changes, 35% think it will reject the individual mandate and 11% think the entire law will be overturned.
The poll found the overhaul so far has affected businesses differently. For example:
- 57% of respondents said benefit costs have increased;
- 48% of respondents said their workload has increased;
- 29% of respondents said adviser costs have increased; and
- 16% of respondents said the law has had no effect (Daly, Modern Healthcare, 3/26).
Former SCOTUS Clerks, Lawyers Expect Court To Uphold the Overhaul
Former clerks and lawyers who have argued before the Supreme Court expect the high court to uphold the health reform law, according to a poll conducted by Purple Strategies, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
The poll surveyed nearly 400 former clerks and about 240 lawyers who have argued before the court, finding that:
- 65% of respondents expect the justices to uphold the individual mandate;
- About 75% of the lawyers think the justices will reach a decision now rather than waiting until after the individual mandate takes effect;
- About 38% of respondents said the court will strike down the mandate and a few other provisions;
- 36% believe it will only reject the mandate; and
- 27% of respondents expect the court to overturn the entire law (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/26).