The American Public Still Backs Health Reform

The best way to track how Americans feel about the Affordable Care Act is to follow the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. The latest edition of this poll shows that, despite Americans’ contradictory feelings about the new health care reform law, conservative attempts to repeal it are likely to be met with resistance from the public.

On the one hand, more Americans are not in favor (44 percent) than in favor (37 percent) of the new law. But on the other, as the chart below shows, by majorities ranging from 57 percent to 84 percent, they are approve of almost all provisions included in the law. The sole exception is the individual mandate to purchase insurance, where just 35 percent are in favor.

Chart 1

These views explain why 50 percent of respondents in the same poll say they would like Congress to either expand the Affordable Care Act or keep it as-is rather than repeal or replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative (39 percent). It is also worth noting that since February, the number wanting to keep or expand the law has never dropped below 50 percent, while the number wanting to repeal or replace has never exceeded 39 percent.

Chart 2

Conservatives are sworn enemies of the Affordable Care Act. These data suggest that their obsessive drive to dismantle the law is unlikely to generate high levels of public support and in fact may yield the contrary.

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.