Public Support for Health Care Law Is Ailing

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President Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Source: AP/Getty Images, Mar. 10, 2010

Support for President Obama’s healthcare reform law has hit a record low, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. The Oct. 28, 2011 poll finds that 34% of respondents view the Mar. 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) favorably, while 51% have an unfavorable view. It marks the first time that a majority of those polled had an unfavorable opinion of the law.

In Mar. 2010, 46% of respondents supported the health care reform proposals, 42% were opposed, and 12% were unsure. Opinions remained roughly evenly split until this month when waning Democratic support caused the record low. 52% of Democrats view the law favorably, compared to 65% in Sep. 2011. Republican support fell to 11% from 14% in this one-month period, and support among independents dropped from 36% to 32%.

Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman tried to explain the shift: “The public is in a sour mood, including Democrats who drove this month’s more negative views. I doubt underlying views about the ACA have really shifted much, but the public’s mood has shifted and made poll respondents more negative about almost anything we ask them about.”

The poll also included questions about the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform law signed by then-Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Three percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the Massachusetts law, 23% had an unfavorable view, and 73% didn’t know enough about the law to express an opinion. Massachusetts health care reforms were based on Republican alternatives to the Clinton health care plan of 1993, which were originally presented by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation in 1992 and supported by current Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

None of the major candidates for the 2012 Republican presidential nominations believes that the Mar. 2010 federal health care reform laws are good for America.


Julie Rovner, “Democrats Lose Enthusiasm for Health Law,”, Oct. 28, 2011

“Kaiser Health Tracking Poll — October 2011,”, Oct. 28, 2011