What the Public Thinks of Obamacare, by Component

All the Affordable Care Act’s provisions besides the individual mandate score high with the public, observes Ruy Teixeira.

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With all eyes focused on the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate to purchase health insurance, it’s a good time to remind people that there’s way more to the law than the mandate—and the public supports all the law’s parts except for the mandate. Conservatives like to pretend the law is massively unpopular in all respects but that’s just not true.

Consider these data from the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. The chart shows the public is favorable toward every component of the act except the mandate, with ratings of at least 69 percent for a majority of the components tested.

public is favorable toward many provisions in the law

Unfortunately the public’s awareness of more popular provisions lags behind the individual mandate. The chart below shows that awareness of five popular provisions is less than 50 percent while the mandate is recognized by 64 percent of the public—the highest awareness for any individual component of the law.

how aware public is of favorable provisions

No wonder conservatives are so eager for the Supreme Court to strike down the law. If the Affordable Care Act sticks around long enough, the public’s awareness of its individual provisions besides the mandate might rise to match underlying favorability. That would make the law difficult indeed to dislodge—which would be very good for the country but very bad for conservatives.

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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