By Bill Mcinturff & Elizabeth Harrington
September 3, 2014 at 6:00 am ET
In our last column we noted that attitudes about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had been remarkably stable and negative over time. The recently released Kaiser Health Tracking July Poll shows adults continue to have an unfavorable impression of the ACA. Notably, for only the second time in Kaiser’s tracking, more than half of adults report having an unfavorable opinion of the ACA (37% favorable/53% unfavorable). This is an eight point increase from the last track in June and is the highest percentage of respondents saying they have an unfavorable opinion since the ACA was signed into law. Majorities of Independents and Republicans continue to have an unfavorable view, while the majority of Democrats have a favorable point of view of the law.
Although the percentage of adults with an unfavorable view of the ACA has increased since June, the majority of adults continue to say they would rather see their Member of Congress work to improve the health care law (60%) than work to repeal and replace it with something else (35%). Though, this is significantly impacted by respondents’ overall opinion of the ACA and by their partisan affiliation, as Kaiser’s chart below highlights.
People remain relatively disconnected from the health care law. The majority of adults continue to say that the ACA has not had a direct impact on them or their family (56%). Although respondents report the law may not be having much of a personal impact yet, according to Kaiser’s July Health Tracking Poll, the conversations that people report having about the law with friends or family focus mostly on “bad things about the law.”
There remains this dichotomy about the health care law among the American public. Even though adults have an unfavorable opinion of the law, their personal information flow about the law tends to be negative, and they see little to no personal impact as of yet, a majority of adults still want Congress to work to improve the law rather than repeal and replace it with something else.