Monday, March 16, 2015

ACA Support "All Time High" with Changes Wanted

Views of the ACA Now Reps Dems Inds
Working well, keep as is 6% 1% 14% 5%
Good things, but changes needed 60% 41% 73% 61%
Needs to be repealed entirely 32% 56% 13% 32%
In the five years since it's passage, polling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still remarkably consistent. The above table of a CBS poll of 1,006 Americans taken in February says that only 6% of the US public like the ACA as it is, including 1% of Republicans. While in the same poll 44% overall support the ACA while 52% say they are against. It would be helpful to cross tabulate the approval question with the one above to see how those who want changes approve vs how many who want changes disapprove. Another poll from Reuter's/Ipsos of 2,348 Americans on the ACA asks them about their opinions of its various provisions. Overall, each provision is popular with at least a 70% approval except for the individual mandate at 44%. The pattern is similar for Republicans and Independents with at least 60% approval for each provision except the individual mandate at 26% for Republicans and 40% for Independents. The table below from the Reuters/Ipsos poll does not mention single payer but it does ask respondents about which approach would to healthcare reform that they would favor.
When you think about healthcare reform in the United States, which of the following solutions comes closest to your opinion?
Total Dem Rep Ind
The Government should be the sole provider of healthcare insurance
12% 19% 6% 12%
The Government should have a major role in providing healthcare insurance
21% 35% 9% 14%
The Government should have a limited role in providing healthcare insurance
28% 20% 42% 32%
Only private companies should provide healthcare insurance 14% 6% 27% 15%
Unsure 25% 20% 15% 27%
Looking at the above table it may seem that only 33% of the US public believe that the US Government should be the sole provider or have a major role in providing health insurance. The problem here is the wording of the question. The words major, limited, and sole provider have ambiguous meanings which can be interpreted differently by different people. What is a major role for some US may be considered a limited role for many in Canada, Great Britain, and the many other countries with universal countries and vice versa for other groups. If one combines those who support sole government providership with those who support a major and a limited role for government, 61% of the public supports such an approach. Broken down by political party, 57% of Republicans, (6% for sole provider + 9% major + 42% minor), 58% of Independents, and 74% of Democrats support such an approach. This formulation is more consistent with an AP/Yahoo poll question which is more concisely worded seen below: Which comes closest to your view? 34% - The United States should continue the current health insurance system in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance 65% - The United States should adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers 2% - Refused / Not Answered The challenge for the single payer movement is to show a skeptical public how it can make the necessary changes for healthcare in the face of propaganda determined to stifle sensible reform.