This is getting to be habit for me now, but I find these health care polls by Kaiser fascinating. So please excuse another monthly review of their findings on opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act:
This should be incentive for pols, that 46 percent either haven’t decided how they feel about the law or whose opinion could change. I’ve often seen criticism from pundits that the Obama administration and Democrats in general have done too little to promote the Affordable Care Act. Well, according to this data there is still room for improvement.
It’s taken as a given that the fallback strategy for opponents of the law, assuming they don’t gain an unstoppable control in government, will be to ‘defund’ the ACA if possible. Such a strategy, however, appears unpopular. Even 28 percent of Republicans disapprove of cutting of funding for implementation.
This is a newer aspect of the Kaiser tracking poll. As you know SCOTUS ruled that the minimum coverage provision (the individual mandate) in the ACA is constitutional via the taxing authority of government. One might wonder whether calling it a fine, as proponents of the law do, or a tax, as opponents are now gleefully using, would make a difference in how people felt towards the MCO. As you can see it doesn’t make much of a difference.
More people expect to pay the MCO penalty when the question is framed as a tax rather than a fine. Yet in both cases a significant majority do not expect to be subjected to the penalty. So while people really don’t like the mandate (freedom-crushing provision that it is), most don’t anticipate having to deal with it either.
And finally we have what I think is the most interesting aspect of this polling. Which is to say, what is the effect of (gasp) informing people about what will actually happen regarding the MCO? They’re more likely to view the provision favorably, of course.
When told that most Americans won’t be subject to a penalty because most Americans already have insurance; a 24 percent increase in favorability. When explained that people would be exempt from the provision if the cost of getting insurance is too high; an 18 percent increase in favorability. Lastly, when learning that only one in ten Americans would have to get health insurance or pay a fine/tax; an 8 percent increase in favorability. This last piece is the lowest increase, and subsequently the only aspect that doesn’t push the MCO above 50 percent in favorability. Still, it’s striking how much a difference such information makes when talking about such an important law. Maybe we should include that information more often.