The White House has, for weeks now, rolled out popular health reform benefits well ahead of schedule, items like coverage for young adult children and tax credits for small business, hoping these early deliverables would shore up public support.
But a new poll, released this morning by the Kaiser Family Foundation, suggests the accelerated implementation schedule has failed to sway a skeptical public — or even keep health reform’s most ardent supporters on board.
Two months after the health care overhaul became law, Americans remain as deeply divided as ever about it, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Friday.
While overall attitudes were roughly unchanged from last month, the percentage of people who reported that they have “very favorable” opinions of the legislation fell from 23 percent to 14 percent during the month. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 32 percent of people reported “very unfavorable” opinions, up slightly from the 30 percent reported last month.
The Health Tracking Poll found that 41 percent of respondents hold favorable views of the law and 44 percent hold unfavorable views, with 14 percent unsure. It’s a slight difference from last month’s poll, which found 46 percent had favorable opinions and 40 percent unfavorable.
Proponents of the law have struggled to win over a skeptical public. During the contentious debate on Capitol Hill, Democrats argued that support for the overhaul would improve once the bill became law and the public got to take advantage of its benefits.
Two months after enactment, many of the benefits have yet to go into effect. But the Obama administration has tried to speed up implementation of some of the most popular provisions. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius asked insurance companies to move up implementation of allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and ending the practice of rescissions — canceling plans once a patient gets sick — except in cases of fraud.
Predictably, the support and opposition to the legislation are divided largely along partisan lines.
Seventy-two percent of Democrats had a favorable view of the legislation, and 14 percent had an unfavorable view. Only 8 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the legislation, and 85 percent had an unfavorable view. Among independents, 37 percent had a favorable view, and 49 percent had an unfavorable view.
While Americans remain split on whether they like the legislation, fewer said they’re confused about what it means. Forty-four percent of people said they don’t fully understand the legislation, down from 55 percent last month.
The poll of 1,210 people was conducted May 11 to May 16.