Americans Wary of Health Law's Impact
Politics

Americans Wary of Health Law's Impact

by Elizabeth Mendes

Majority disapproves of the law itself

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are more negative than positive about the healthcare law's future impact on their family and on the U.S. in general. Forty-two percent say that in the long run, the law will make their family's healthcare situation worse; 22% say it will make it better. And almost half believe the law will make the healthcare situation in the U.S. worse; 34% say it will make it better.

In the long run, how do you think the healthcare law will affect your family’s healthcare situation/the healthcare situation in the U.S. -- will it make things better, not make much difference, or will it make things worse? June 2013 results

These data are from a June 20-24 Gallup poll, conducted as the Obama administration and its supporters are trying to raise awareness of the Affordable Care Act. A new nonprofit group, Enroll America, just launched a campaign, "Get Covered America," to help the uninsured in particular learn about the new law and how to sign up for health coverage, which everyone is required to carry starting in 2014.

It is possible that once Americans start to learn more about the law -- and see it in action, with the uninsured able to start shopping for coverage Oct. 1 -- they will change their perspective on its potential impact.

The uninsured are slightly more likely than the insured to think the law will make the healthcare situation for their family and for the U.S. better. But even the uninsured are divided as to whether the law will make their healthcare situation and the country's better or worse.

Also, views of the law's impact on the healthcare situation break along typical party lines -- Republicans predict negative outcomes, Democrats are most likely to think it will be a positive, and independents fall somewhere in between.

In the long run, how do you think the healthcare law will affect your family’s healthcare situation/the healthcare situation in the U.S. -- will it make things better, not make much difference, or will it make things worse? June 2013 results by party ID and insured/uninsured status

Majority Disapproves of the Affordable Care Act

Fifty-two percent of Americans say they disapprove of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, while 44% approve. Last fall, 48% said they approved of the law and 45% disapproved. Americans have generally been divided in their views of the law since it was passed in 2010, in response to slightly different question wordings.

The healthcare law itself elicits highly partisan responses, with Republicans nearly unanimously disapproving (89%) and a smaller but still large majority of Democrats (76%) approving. Democrats' and Republicans' views are essentially unchanged from November 2012. It is independents whose views have changed -- they have become more likely to disapprove now. The majority of independents (52%) approved of the law last fall, while now a majority disapprove (53%).

Do you generally approve or disapprove of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama that restructured the U.S. healthcare system? June 2013 results by party ID and insured/uninsured status

The majority of the insured disapprove of the law, while the majority of the uninsured approve of it.

Bottom Line

As the full implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act nears, Americans remain wary of the law and of what kind of impact it will have on their family's healthcare situation and the nation's overall healthcare situation. Those without health insurance -- a group that most benefits from the new law -- are slightly more likely to see it as having a positive effect, but even they are not ardent supporters.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 20-24, 2013, with a random sample of 2,048 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 234 adults who do not have health insurance, the margin of sampling error is ±8 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline and cell telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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