As a key step in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act approaches, public views of the 2010 health care law are as negative as ever, and many are unaware of the elements of the law that will be going into place. While opposition to the law runs deep, critics are divided over whether the effort should be to make the law work as well as possible or to make it fail.
With health insurance exchanges set to open on Oct. 1, the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center andUSA TODAY, conducted Sept. 4-8 among 1,506 adults, finds that 53% of Americans disapprove of the law while 42% approve. Overall approval of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ticked up last July in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold most of the law (47% approved, 43% disapproved), but opinions are now as negative as they have been any point since the bill’s passage.
The 53% of the public who disapprove of the law are divided over what they would like elected officials who oppose the law to do now that the law has begun to take effect. About half of disapprovers (27% of the public overall) say these lawmakers “should do what they can to make the law work as well as possible,” but nearly as many (23% of the public) say these officials “should do what they can to make the law fail.”
This strategic question is a particular point of conflict within the Republican Party. Overall, just 13% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents approve of the law while 85% disapprove. Fewer than half of all Republicans and Republican leaners (43%) want elected officials who oppose the law to do what they can to make it fail; 37% say they should try to make it work as well as possible.