49% say they favor the 2010 health care law
But few feel the ACA has done much to help them personally
Americans views of Obamacare tilt narrowly positive, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, marking the first time more have favored than opposed the law since its passage in 2010. The shift comes at the same time more than 8-in-10 say the law is likely to be repealed and replaced by incoming president Donald Trump.
Overall, 49% say they favor the 2010 health care law, more formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while 47% oppose it. Though a mostly mixed review overall, that’s a sharp improvement compared with previous polling on the law.
More have opposed than favored the law in every CNN/ORC poll on this question from March 2010 until now. The shift in the law’s favor stems largely from Democrats and independents, while views among Republicans haven’t moved much.
Still, few feel the ACA has done much to help them personally. Just 22% say they or their families are better off since the law’s provisions have gone into effect, and more, 30%, say that they are worse off now. About 3-in-10 say that the law hasn’t actually helped anyone in the US, including 58% of Republicans who feel that way.
The law undoubtedly helped reduce the share of uninsured Americans, with the uninsured rate reaching historic lows following the implementation of some parts of the law, but Americans by and large don’t see it as successful.
Almost 4-in-10 (37%) say they consider the law a failure, outnumbering the 23% who say they see the law as a success. That’s an uptick since 2015, but nearly all of the increase in perceptions of the law as a success comes among Democrats, 46% of whom say so now, up from 19% in 2015.
The incoming Trump administration and the Republican Congress that will accompany it have called repealing Obamacare a top priority, and health care generally has risen in priority in the eyes of Americans. In the new poll, 14% cited health care as the most important issue facing the country, up sharply from the 3% who cited it last fall in a similar question about the most important issue in the presidential campaign.