Looking Beyond Voter Support or Opposition of the ACA

As noted earlier this week, voters have an initial negative reaction to the health care law with stronger opposition to the health care law than support (34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} support/45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} oppose/20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} no opinion).   This support/oppose question, though, does not tell the whole story about how voters are feeling about the ACA.

  1. We asked a very interesting question in a recent survey that paired up two points of view about the health care law: one of “Hope” and one of “Fear.”  Just over half of voters choose the “fearful” point of view (51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), but a large percentage of voters are still “hopeful” about the law (44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).Paired Statements About The Health Care Law:
    • “I feel hopeful because millions of uninsured Americans are now able to get coverage.  Health insurance companies can no longer reject people because of pre-existing illness and can no longer charge more because of a person’s age or medical history.  This means everyone can get coverage.”
    • “I feel fearful because premiums may increase for people with coverage to help pay for those without.  It could hurt jobs as employers reduce the cost of covering employees.  People could end up losing their current coverage.”
  2. One of five voters (20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) reported having no opinion about the health care law on the support/oppose question.  Considering this, plus the hopes and fears question, this data suggests the public has not yet reached a firm, final point of view about the health care law.
    table 1
  3. Further, the majority of voters say they want the health care law fixed (54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), rather than totally eliminated (28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), or kept in place as is (17{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).  There is an interesting divide by party on this question:
    • GOP: Fix – 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Eliminate – 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Keep As Is – 3{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}
    • DEM: Fix – 62{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Eliminate – 7{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Keep As Is – 29{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}
    • IND:  Fix – 55{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Eliminate – 28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, Keep As Is – 13{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}
  4. There are specific health reform elements of the law voters feel very positive about:
    • Ensures insurance companies cannot reject people because of pre-existing illness (77{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive feelings)
    • Ensures a person cannot be charged more because of their health status or medical history (69{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive feelings)
    • Gives parents the option of keeping their children on their insurance through age 26 (67{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} positive feelings)

    But, there are also elements of the law voters feel negative about:

    • Requires nearly all Americans who do not have health insurance to get it or else pay a fine on their yearly tax return (61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative feelings)
    • Requires health insurance companies to pay additional new taxes to the federal government on the health insurance premiums they collect from their customers (46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} negative feelings)

    At the end of our survey, after hearing more about the health care law voters become more supportive, but opinion remains a modest net negative.  Nearly two in ten voters still do not have an opinion about the law.

    • Initial: 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} support/45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} oppose/20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} no opinion
    • Informed: 39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} support/42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} oppose/18{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} no opinion


Public Opinion Strategies and Peter Hart conducted a national telephone survey among N=800 registered voters from February 16-20, 2014.  MOE = +3.46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.

Data from this survey was presented at AHIP’s National Health Policy Forum on March 6th, 2014.

(Please note this blog post does not reflect the opinions of either AHIP or Peter Hart)

Public Opinion Strategies