The good news keeps pouring in for supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Heading into the final day to signup for an individual health plan in the federal and state marketplaces, a new poll was released by ABC News and the Washington Post that shows the popularity for the ACA at an all-time high. For the first time in the poll’s history, more people have a favorable view of the health care law than those who oppose it.
In this most recent poll, 49% of Americans responded that they supported the ACA. Meanwhile, 48% said they were not in favor of the law. While this is hardly a huge difference, it does mark the first time that the poll has shown a net positive for the law in terms of popularity. Once before, in July 2012, the poll showed it even at 47-47. This also represented the overall high water mark for the law in this particular poll. The previous high was 48% in November 2009.
After the much-criticized and overblown ‘disastrous rollout’ of the federal health exchange and its website, Healthcare.gov, in October 2013, the ACA showed a net negative of 17 points in this poll, 40-57. Now, it sits at a +1. Recently, a Kaiser poll, while showing a net negative in terms of popularity, revealed that 59% of Americans do not support a repeal of the law, with only 29% supporting such a move. Also, the same poll stated that 53% of people want politicians to stop debating the law and move onto something else.
Yes, this is only one poll. And, obviously, Republicans will be able to point to some other recent poll showing the ACA is unpopular. However, given the context of the tidal wave of good news surrounding these final days of the ACA’s first open enrollment period, you have to think that this poll is like a kick in the gut for conservatives who have placed all of their eggs in the ‘Obamacare is bad’ basket. With enrollment likely to surge past 7 million by the end of the day on Monday, and Medicaid expansion and other provisions of the law having helped millions of other previously uninsured people get health coverage for the first time, Republicans once again find themselves on the wrong side of history.