Polls: Enrollment Surges Do Little To Sway Public Opinion of ACA
The Obama administration's announcement earlier this month that eight million people had enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges appears to have had little effect on the public's opinion about the law, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, Modern Healthcare reports.
According to the monthly survey, which polled 1,504 U.S. adults between April 15 and April 21, 38% of U.S. residents have a favorable view of the ACA and 46% have an unfavorable view of the law (Demko, Modern Healthcare, 4/29).
The results indicate only a slight change over previous surveys and highlight lingering discontent with the law, KFF researchers said (Hamel et al, Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 4/28). For example, a similar poll conducted in October 2013 found that 38% of respondents viewed the law favorably, while 44% held a negative view of the law (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 4/29).
More Findings From Latest Poll
Meanwhile in the latest poll, support for the law remained divided depending on respondents' political ideologies, with:
- 70% of Democrats saying they support the ACA;
- 37% of Independents saying they favor the law; and
- 11% of Republicans expressing support for the law (Modern Healthcare, 4/29).
According to Liz Hamel, director of public opinion and survey research at KFF, the poll shows that people's "opinions are pretty set, and so divided by political party, that we think people are still judging the law through their partisan lenses" (Ritger, National Journal, 4/29).
However, the poll found that more people favor keeping and improving the law over repealing and replacing it. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said Congress should work to improve the law, while 35% said the law should be repealed.
In addition, the poll found that most U.S. residents do not believe the administration reached its enrollment targets, with 57% of respondents saying the government fell short of its goals and 35% reporting that enrollment numbers exceeded the government's expectations (Modern Healthcare, 4/29).
Meanwhile, 57% of respondents said they believe "there have been so many problems since the law's rollout that it's clear the law is not working as planned" (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 4/29).
The survey found that 10% of respondents were uninsured. When asked why they did not have health coverage:
- More than one-third said health coverage was not affordable (Modern Healthcare, 4/29);
- 14% said they did not think the law's individual mandate applied to them;
- 13% said they did not know about the law's mandate that they must purchase coverage or pay penalties;
- 12% said they attempted to purchase coverage but were unable to do so; and
- 7% said they would rather pay tax penalties under the individual mandate than purchase health plans (CQ HealthBeat, 4/29).
Second Survey Shows More Support for Repeal in Battleground Southern Districts
A separate survey by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg found that more residents living in battleground election districts in the South now favor repealing the ACA than did in December 2013, the Los Angeles Times' "Politics Now" reports (Lauter, "Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/29).
Greenberg's firm polled 1,250 likely voters in November's midterm elections between April 10 and April 16 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll, 4/28).
According to the survey, 52% of likely voters in highly contested congressional districts think lawmakers should "implement and fix" the ACA, while 42% think the law should be repealed and replaced.
While overall support for implementing and improving the ACA has grown in about 80 congressional districts that Greenberg's firm surveyed, voters in battleground Southern districts support repealing and replacing the ACA by a larger margin than they did in December 2013 ("Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.