Study: Just a Third of Uninsured Americans Hold Positive View of Obamacare
“There has been a full-court press from Day One from the opposition to characterize and demonize the plan,” Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told USA Today, describing the response of the Republican party to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. “The campaign against the law after it was enacted, the range of steps taken, the effort to delegitimize it — it is unprecedented. We’d probably have to go back to the nullification efforts of the Southern states in the pre-Civil War period to find anything of this intensity.”
The intense partisanship opposition to the health care reform has translated to the American public in a way that would surprise early supporters of the law; before it was signed into law in March 2010 by President Barack Obama, many thought that the country would support it in greater and greater numbers as the popular provisions went into effect, including the measures that have allowed young adults to remain covered by their parents insurance policies until age 26, protected children with serious medical conditions, and helped seniors pay for prescriptions.
Undoubtedly, the political rhetoric in Washington has played a role educating constituents or coloring their opinions, though to what extent has not been quantified. What has been quantified is the ebbs and flows of public opinion surrounding the law, popularly known as Obamacare.
Data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation in its August 2013 Health Tracking Poll showed that roughly four in ten Americans, 44 percent, think either the Affordable Care Act has been repealed by Congress or overturned by the Supreme Court, or say they do not know whether it remains law or not, which was the answer of 31 percent of respondents. Just 22 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 had heard “a lot” or “some” about the insurance exchanges.
For context, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has launched approximately 40 attempts to repeal or defund all or parts of the law, while the Supreme Court upheld the law by a 5 to 4 decision in June of 2012. With such a large percentage of Americans unsure about the legal status of the reform, it follows that slightly more than half of the American public, 51 percent, say they do not have enough information about the law to understand how it will impact them and their family. This percentage has remained largely unchanged since 2010.