The Kaiser Family Foundation released their latest heath tracking poll for the month of October. According to the results the headline response is that the public has an unfavorable view of the implementation of the law, but overall opinions about the Affordable Care Act haven’t changed much.
Also, in a rare case of the pundits being entirely correct, more folks were paying attention to the October government shutdown and debt ceiling negotiations than the deeply flawed rollout of Healthcare.gov.
The public is also beginning to see more ACA-related ads, including those intended to raise awareness on how to obtain coverage, but only about a third of the uninsured could count themselves in that category. People also continue to feel the that “they’ve felt no personal impact so far,” but the share of the public that felt as though they had enough information finally reached a majority. You can read the particular numbers on those here, but there’s a specific chart I’d like to highlight.
First, though, there’s the usual favorable/unfavorable rating, which hasn’t changed all that much this year:
If you’ve been reading here regularly you might already know that this is my least favorite distinction to draw, primarily because it gives a false impression. It is routine to find that most of the public views the law unfavorably, but that doesn’t mean that most Americans support the Republican position on the ACA. When you ask folks why they view the law unfavorably, this is the result:
This is Obamacare’s 47 percent. More Americans want to keep the law as it exists or expand it. Most Americans do not want to repeal the ACA. Democrats overwhelmingly want to continue the law as it’s written or don’t think it goes far enough. Republicans overwhelmingly believe the opposite. Independents are roughly split. Any way you spin this the law enjoys wide support versus the counter-factual of wholesale repeal or a conservative replacement.
Of course one could see the not-insubstantial number of those open to a Republican-sponsored alternative as a hopeful sign for the possibility for future compromise on necessary changes to the law. I certainly hope that’s the case. For that to become true, though, might require acquiescing that most Americans don’t want to repeal it. More importantly, it would probably require acknowledging that health care reform that expands access and protects the public is a legitimate pursuit of public policy.