Two new polls released on Monday show the American public is still skeptical of whether the Affordable Care Act will help them. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted in early September, 44 percent believe the president’s health care law is a bad idea, while 31 percent think it is a good idea.
A USA Today/Pew Research Poll found 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Obamacare, 42 percent approve, and only 5 percent are unsure.
The polls highlight the widespread confusion among Americans surrounding the health care law, including how its implementation will affect them individually.
The WSJ/NBC poll reports 34 percent of respondents do not understand the law very well and 35 percent only understand some of it. Despite the high rate of uncertainty, 30 percent still believe it will have a negative effect on their family and 52 percent predict a rise in their health care costs.
According to USA Today, “Among the 19 percent polled who are uninsured, nearly 4in 10 don’t realize the law requires them to get health insurance next year. Among young people, whose participation is seen as crucial for the exchanges to work, just 56 percent realize there’s a mandate to be insured or face a fine.”
The largest obstacle for President Obama and proponents of the health care law will be explaining how it will help individuals and benefit the economy simultaneously. Democrats have been committed to raising awareness of its overall advantages, while Republicans have been relentless in instilling fear in the American public. The inconsistency and ambiguity of facts surrounding Obamacare have caused extensive confusion and uncertainty; people are concerned about how this will affect them specifically.
The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll included an open-ended question to respondents that asked them to explain why they felt Obamacare is either a good or bad idea. A female from Ohio who claimed to lean Republican and was opposed to the law said, “I think with all the confusion, lots of confusion, people are probably going to have to pay more. And really, we don’t know enough about it yet. We don’t know, I don’t know personally how it’s going to affect me.”
Although the health care law is not overly popular, and a majority of Americans don’t understand how it will impact them personally, there is still no widespread support among Americans to defund Obamacare.
According to the Pew Research Center/USA Today poll, 53 percent disapprove of the law, and of that majority only 23 percent believe elected officials should try to make it fail — 27 percent believe leaders should make it work as well as possible.
Many Republicans are threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling before the October deadline unless the Affordable Care Act is defunded, with no backup plan to replace the current law with a better option.
President Obama spoke to this during a speech on Monday marking the five-year anniversary of the financial crisis. “The Affordable Care Act has been the law for three and a half years now. It passed both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional, it was an issue in last year’s election and the candidate who called for repeal lost,” he said.
“There is no serious evidence that the law — which has helped to keep down the rise in health care costs to their lowest level in 50 years — is holding back economic growth,” the president added. “So repealing the Affordable Care Act—making sure that 30 million people don’t get health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions continue to be locked out of the health insurance market—that’s not an agenda for economic growth.”
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