On Wednesday, the Kaiser Family Foundation released their updated health tracking poll and the results were not what the Republican Party wanted to see. Overall, it shows that Americans are not in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act and are also sick and tired of the ongoing debate about health care, Basically, the majority of the American public accepts that the ACA is the law of the land, and that efforts should only be made to improve the law, rather than to repeal it.
53% of respondents to the poll stated that they are sick of the debate on the health care law and would like for our lawmakers to focus on other issues now. Meanwhile, 42% felt that the debate should continue. This shows that the appetite for Republicans focusing solely on Obamacare during their campaigns this election season is seriously waning. In fact, even Republican voters are getting tired of the continued focus on the ACA, as 47% want to move on to other things.
At the same time, a large majority of people do not want the health care law repealed. 59% of those polled feel that the law should not be repealed. 49% stated that the law should stay in place but that improvements should be made, while 10% said that it is fine exactly as it is. On the flip side, only 29% of respondents feel that repeal is a viable option, with 11% stating that we should repeal the law and replace it with a GOP alternative and 18% saying to repeal it and do nothing else. A majority of independents (52%) are in favor of keeping the law in place.
While more people still have an unfavorable view of the ACA as opposed to a positive one, the gap is definitely narrowing. 38% of Americans said they view the law favorably while 46% still see it in a negative light. However, when asked about individual provisions of the law, nearly every element was met with overwhelming support. The only unpopular provision of the law is the individual mandate. Only 35% of Americans support it, with the vast majority of Republicans and independents firmly against it.
Essentially, this shows that people like what the ACA offers, they just don’t like one particular part of it, which is the individual mandate. The funny thing here is that this is the main objection that Republican voters have when confronted with individual provisions of the law. However, the individual mandate is pretty much a conservative idea that originally came from the Heritage Foundation and dates all the way back to 1989. It also is the key component from Massachusetts’ health care law, or ‘Romneycare’, that made it over to the ACA.
Basically, the individual mandate is the key driver that keeps the costs of insurance premiums down. Without the individual mandate, the additional provisions of the law, which are all wildly popular, would force insurance premiums to skyrocket. Unknowingly, Republican voters, by railing against the individual mandate but supporting the other elements of the law, are pretty much advocating for single-payer, government run health coverage. It appears they want ‘Medicare for all’ without even realizing it.
The main takeaway from this poll is that Republicans need to come up with a new plan for the midterms. Making Obamacare the single issue will backfire badly. By the end of March, over 6 million people will have signed up for new health insurance plans due to the ACA. Millions more will have obtained coverage from Medicaid or through their parents’ plans, also because of the ACA. Americans have accepted the law and want to give it a chance to work. They are for improving it, but not for getting rid of it.