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Monday, June 5, 2017

What Do 'We the People' Think of the ACA?


It’s a tumultuous time for health care in our country. At least, for health care coverage and plans, that is. The Affordable Care Act was enacted over seven years ago amidst controversy and, while the nation’s views on the subject have become less clear-cut with regard to party lines, it’s safe to say the discussion surrounding the ACA is still a divisive one.

To remedy the controversy, our newest presidential administration did introduce the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as a replacement for the ACA, but the nuances of the bill couldn’t be agreed upon and the matter was temporarily deferred to focus on other issues. So while we’re stuck in political limbo as far as our health care laws are concerned, just how do the American people view the Affordable Care Act, as it stands? Since an official replacement hasn’t been enacted, it is still the law of the land, which means we’re all still subject to its rules and regulations. But how do we feel about it?

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been running a poll over the past several years asking Americans just that: “As you may know, a health reform bill was signed into law in 2010. Given what you know about the health reform law, do you have a generally favorable or generally unfavorable opinion of it?”


As you can see, since 2010, the percentage of those in favor of the ACA and those against it, overall, are almost equal. Only when the percentage of those who aren't sure of their stance spikes to just over 20% in early 2013 do we see a significant gap between those who are for and those who are against the ACA. But what happens if we break this down further? Say, by how those who were polled identify politically?


Talk about divisive! The only ratings consistently higher than the Democrats' approval of the ACA are the Republicans' disapproval. But really, that's not all too surprising. What if we take something else into account like, say, income?




What’s interesting about this breakdown is that, with the exception of those who make $90,000 or more during the year, those polled generally went from an unfavorable opinion of the ACA to a favorable one. This could be a result of confusion over the ACA’s regulations when it was first introduced being cleared up in the time since those regulations were officially enacted. Still, one has to wonder if it has to do with the fact that the newer legislation introduced as a replacement for the ACA tends to be more beneficial to those with higher incomes.

According to the charts, when broken down by age, the only group now more unfavorable of the ACA than in favor of it are those between the ages of 50 and 64. And while half of both men and women seem to feel more favorable to the ACA, there’s a much more significant gap between women in favor than those against the act.

Keeping in mind that the results based on subgroups may have a higher sampling of error margin than plus or minus 3 percentage points, it’s also worthy to note the difference in opinions among races. Here’s that breakdown, as of May 2017:
  • -White pollers
    • -43% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -50% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -7% don’t know
  • -Black pollers
    • -73% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -19% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -8% don’t know
  • -Hispanic pollers
    • -61% favorable opinion of the ACA
    • -22% unfavorable opinion of the ACA
    • -18% don’t know


To see the breakdown of opinions yourself, you can check out the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll’s interactive chart here. And for more information on the ACA, AHCA, and everything in between, stay tuned with ACAwise!

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