By Peter Suderman – Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges open for enrollment in two weeks. The expectation is that about 7 million people will gain insurance coverage next year as a result of the law. But multiple new polls show that the law remains unpopular with the public.
A USA Today/Pew poll taken last week and released today finds that 53 percent of the public disapproves of the health care law, with 41 percent saying they disapprove strongly. The same percentage of respondents—53—say they disapprove of the way that President Obama is handling health policy. A Reason-Rupe poll published last week finds similar skepticism about the way the law is being handled, with 62 percent of those surveyed saying that implementation of the health law is not going well.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also finds that more people have a negative opinion about the law than a positive opinion. NBC News’ First Read goes over the numbers:
44% call [Obamacare] a bad idea, while 31% believe it’s a good idea, which is virtually unchanged from July’s survey. What’s more, by a 45% to 23% margin, Americans say the law will have a negative impact on the country’s health-care system rather than a positive one. And 30% of respondents think it will have a negative impact on their families. Just 12% say it will be positive, and a majority — 53% — don’t believe it will have an impact one way or another.
Another notable finding from that poll is that only a little more than half of Democrats—56 percent—say the plan is a good idea. This is President Obama’s signature achievement. And only a little more than half of his own party say it’s a good idea. What’s more, previous polls have shown Democratic support for the law dropping since last year’s election. Obamacare, in other words, is losing support amongst Democrats, even as the big marketing push around the law has ramped up.
Granted, the outreach efforts don’t seem to be working very well. As The Wall Street Journal notes, the WSJ/NBC poll finds that 76 percent of the uninsured say they still don’t understand how the law will affect them, and only 32 percent believe they are fairly or very likely to get coverage through the health insurance exchanges created under the law.
Widespread opposition to the law does not translate into widespread agreement about how legislators should proceed. The USA Today/Pew poll shows that, amongst the general public, opponents are split as to whether they want legislators to try to make the law work as well as possible or try to make it fail.
But there is one adjustment to the law that a large majority of Americans say they would support: delay of the individual mandate. Last week’s Reason-Rupe poll finds that 60 percent say they want to see the requirement to carry coverage or pay a penalty held off for a year.