Here’s a bit of news that should shock no one: Americans are all over the map when it comes to how they feel about Obamacare.
In fact, a recent poll produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that:
- 36 percent of Americans think policymakers should build on the controversial healthcare law to improve affordability and access to care
- 24 percent want the U.S. to offer a single government-run plan that guarantees universal coverage
- 16 percent believe the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be repealed and not replaced
- 13 percent say it should be repealed and replaced with a Republican-sponsored alternative
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Democrats often favor the first two options. Republicans usually favor the last two.
Specifically, 54 percent of Democrats support expanding or enhancing the existing law. A third (33 percent) support establishing some sort of “single payer” plan that covers everyone.
On the flip side, most (60 percent) of the Republicans who took part in the Kaiser survey would like to see the ACA repealed. Thirty-four percent prefer replacing it, while 26 percent just want it gone.
Terminology Affects How People Think About Affordable Care Act
One curious finding tied to this poll: how people view Obamacare or any of its possible replacements changes depending on the words used to describe those plans.
- 64 percent of Americans respond positively to “Medicare-for-all”
- 57 percent do the same when asked about “guaranteed universal health coverage”
- 44 percent seem to like “single payer health insurance system”
- Only 38 percent positively react to “socialized medicine”
Kaiser also asked people how they felt about “guaranteed health insurance coverage in which all Americans would get their insurance through a single government health plan.” Exactly half (50 percent) favored it, while 43 percent opposed it.
Those reactions change quite a bit when you throw political affiliation into the mix. A case in point: 70 percent of Democrats support the concept. Fifty-four percent of independents do too. Just 20 percent of Republicans, on the other hand, say the same.
Half of Americans Want to Continue Obamacare Debate, Half Don’t
Would you believe Americans also are of two minds when it comes to whether or not we should continue to argue about the ACA? Regardless, that appears to be the case.
Just under half (49 percent) are tired of hearing about it. Forty-six percent think the conversation needs to continue.
In terms of Republicans and Democrats, 58 percent of the former want the debate to keep going, while 59 percent of the latter want it to end.
Those findings are in line with how Americans feel about the Obamacare in general. According to the same Kaiser poll, 46 percent have an unfavorable view of the law, while 41 percent have a favorable view of it.
Obamacare Isn’t an Important Election-Year Issue
Considering how divided people are about Obamacare’s future, you might assume most plan to factor in those feelings when they head to the ballot box this fall.
In fact, another Kaiser poll from earlier this year found that only 23 percent of Americans say the ACA is an “extremely important” election-year issue.
Which issues are important to them? Thirty-eight percent point to terrorism. Thirty-four percent point to the economy and jobs.
Other issues voters think are more important than Obamacare when choosing between candidates:
- The cost of healthcare and health insurance
- Dissatisfaction with the government
- The federal budget deficit
- Gun control
- The situation in Iraq and Syria
More ACA Information
If you’d like to learn more about Obamacare, check out some of our other articles on the topic. One of them can help you figure out which type of Affordable Care Act plan is right for you. Another will set the record straight regarding 16 of the biggest ACA myths and misunderstandings.
Finally, see what a bunch of journalists, politicians, and other "thought leaders" have to say about this controversial healthcare law’s performance so far in our article, “Is Obamacare Working?”