Public Warms to Health Care Reform Law

Looks like the conservatives got it wrong on health care—American support for the law is a far cry from their predicted uprising against it, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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Conservatives loudly predicted that health care reform, once it became law, would generate a tidal wave of opposition that would lead to its repeal and a devastating defeat for progressives. Recent data suggest their predictions are, to put it mildly, off the mark.

The June Kaiser Health Care Tracking poll found that public favorability toward the bill has risen over the last month to 48 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable, which is up from 41 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable in May. This result is consistent with trends found in a number of other public polls.

The same poll shows one of the main reasons why conservative expectations are not being met. The poll tests 17 different provisions in the new law, and 16 of 17 received majority support. In fact, 12 of the 17 provisions were supported above the 60 percent level, with particularly high favorability ratings for health insurance exchanges (87 percent), tax credits to small businesses (82 percent), and gradually closing the Medicare “doughnut hole” (81 percent).

There’s a lot to like in the new law and the public may be starting to figure that out. The more they do, the more unrealistic conservatives’ fantasies of a populist uprising to repeal the law are going to look. Sorry conservatives, you’ve got it wrong. Again.

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.

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Former Senior Fellow

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