As Republicans inch closer to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, public support for the law is reaching new highs.
A new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds the highest level of favorability toward the ACA in more than 60 tracking polls that it has run since 2010: 48 percent of voters reported support for the law, while 42 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable opinion.
Forty-eight percent may not seem huge, but in context of the previous polls on Obamacare, it demonstrates yet again that as Congress gets closer to acting on the law, public support for the ACA seems to grow.
A new Pew Research Center poll also finds support for the ACA at its highest level on record: 54 percent approve of the health care law, while 43 percent disapprove. For context, as recently as December, 48 percent reported disapproving of the law. “Throughout the law’s history, opinions about the Affordable Care Act have tended to be more negative than positive — or, less frequently, divided,” Pew reports. But not anymore.
The new research marks the latest in a dozen Obamacare polls that have been run since January — and all have consecutively found a majority of Americans support the law, according to the Huffington Post tracker.
Still, the new polls uncovered a deep partisan divide on ACA sentiments. According to Pew, “Democrats overwhelmingly support the law, with 85 percent expressing approval. Among independents, about half (53 percent) approve of the health care law, while 45 percent disapprove. By contrast, Republicans broadly disapprove of the law (89 percent); just 10 percent express approval.”
In the Kaiser poll, seven in 10 Republicans reported unfavorable views about the ACA, while a majority (73 percent) of Democrats supported the law. Kaiser cited the rising popularity of Obamacare in increasing support among independents.
While Trump has promised to repeal the law, Republicans have yet to agree on a plan. Much like the GOP itself, voters seem divided on what to do with the ACA.
In the Kaiser poll, 47 percent of respondents said they want lawmakers to vote to repeal the ACA, and 48 percent do not. Of the repeal supporters, a larger share (28 percent) want lawmakers to wait on abolishing the ACA until they have a firm replacement plan than want an immediate repeal (18 percent).
The Pew poll finds more respondents (25 percent) want Republican congressional leaders to modify the law than get rid of it (17 percent). But again, the way forward is not clear.
Taking health care away from people is shaping up to be a much trickier proposition politically than even getting the health law passed in the first place.