The Pew survey shows support for Obamacare at an all-time high
Support for the law has risen amid Republicans' push to repeal and replace it
Support for Obamacare is at an all-time high, according to two surveys released this week as Republican leaders continue to press the case for repeal amid fierce resistance at many town halls.
The latest Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 48% of Americans view the law favorably, compared to 42% who have an unfavorable view. This is the highest level of favorability measured in more than 60 Kaiser Health Tracking Polls conducted since 2010.
The boost comes largely from independents, half of whom view Obamacare favorably compared to 39% who don’t. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats continue to view it favorably, while about the same share of Republicans have an unfavorable view.
Also, a survey from the Pew Research Center found 54% of Americans approve of the Affordable Care Act – the highest level ever recorded by Pew – while 43% disapprove. That’s up from an even split (48%-47%) in a Pew survey from December, suggesting support for the law may be galvanized by the ongoing public fight over its future.
Still, opinions on Obamacare remain divided. Predictably, Republicans are most likely to say they disapprove (89%) while Democrats are most likely to express approval (85%). But slightly more independents say they approve (53%) than disapprove (45%) – up about 10 points from December.
Among those polled by Kaiser, the public remains divided along partisan lines on whether Congress should repeal the law. Some 47% said lawmakers should dismantle it, while 48% say it should not.
The Pew survey results also found that even among those who disapprove of the law, 25% want GOP leaders to “make modifications” while just 17% want to “get rid of the law entirely.”
And while most Republicans disapprove of the law (89% to 10%), they are also divided over what to do about it – 42% favor modifications while 44% favor axing it.
The Kaiser survey also asked respondents about their views on Medicaid, which was broadened under Obamacare to cover low-income adults. Some 31 states – including 16 led by Republicans governors – have accepted Medicaid expansion.
Some 84% of those polled say it is either “very” or “somewhat” important for any replacement plan to ensure that states that received federal funds to expand Medicaid continue to receive those funds. This includes majorities of Democrats (95%), independents (84%) and Republicans (69%).
Two-thirds of respondents say they don’t support turning Medicaid into a grant program, where the federal government would send a fixed amount of funding to the states but give them more control over who and what is covered. They prefer the status quo, they said.
During Congress’ latest recess, Republican lawmakers have held a series of high-profile town halls that attendees have flooded to express their concern over plans for the Affordable Care Act’s repeal.
The increasingly blunt outcry from Democrats has already rattled congressional Republicans and could extinguish hope for a quick and politically tidy repeal of Obamacare. To urge calm, some Republicans have already made promises that patients won’t lose coverage during a transition period away from Obamacare, while Trump himself has promised “insurance for everybody.”
The Kaiser poll was conducted from February 13-19 by telephone of 1,160 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points among all adults.
The Pew Research Center survey sampled 1,503 American adults between February 7-12. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 points for all adults; plus or minus 4.7 points for Republicans; and plus or minus 4.0 points for Democrats.