Public Says Keep or Expand Obamacare

New polls show a majority wants to keep the law intact or expand certain provisions, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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With the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, conservatives have redoubled their attacks on the law. They say the whole law is so bad that nothing less than full repeal is warranted.

They are hoping that continued public reservations about Obamacare, documented in many polls, will fuel their fight for repeal. But they are overestimating the public’s appetite for outright repeal. In reality, the public’s view of the law is quite complex: Reservations co-exist with sentiment that most of the law’s changes are necessary and perhaps even need to be expanded.

In the latest edition of the Kaiser Health Tracking poll, for example, 53 percent of respondents said Obamacare should either be kept as is (25 percent) or expanded (28 percent) versus 38 percent who thought the law should be either repealed and replaced with a Republican-sponsored alternative (18 percent) or repealed and not replaced (20 percent).

Figure 1

Similarly, in a just-released CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of respondents said they favored all (9 percent) or most (43 percent) of the provisions in the health care law, compared to 47 percent who said they opposed most (34 percent) or all (13 percent) of the provisions.

Figure 2

This does not sound like a public thirsting for immediate and total repeal of Obamacare. Conservatives would be wise to develop a more nuanced approach to the law to match the public mood.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Ruy Teixeira

Former Senior Fellow

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