11/29: Voters Not Satisfied with Health Care Law

It has been eight months since President Barack Obama signed the health care reform bill into law.  But, most voters aren’t completely satisfied with it.  Surprisingly, however, about as many registered voters in the United States — 35% — want Congress to amend the 2010 Health Care Law so that it does more as those who want the law to be repealed — 33%. 11% want it changed so that it does less while 16% think the law should stand in its current form.  Five percent are unsure.



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It’s a partisan divide with independent voters squarely in the middle.  A majority of Democrats — 52% — want the law changed so that it does more, and 27% want Congress to let it stand as it exists.  Just 8% want it repealed, and 6% would like to see it changed so that it does less.  Seven percent are unsure.  Among Republicans, 58% want the law repealed, and 16% want it to do less.  18% would like it changed so that it does more, and only 5% want it to stand.  Three percent are unsure.  Looking at independent voters, 36% want the 2010 Health Care Law repealed, 12% would like it to do less, 34% would like it to do more, and 14% want it to stand.  Four percent are unsure.

“This is a classic case of public opinion flying in the face of the conventional wisdom,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Sure, most voters are not satisfied with the health care bill, but that doesn’t automatically translate into support for its repeal.”

Table: 2010 Health Care Law
Table: 2010 Health Care Law (Categories Combined)

Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Viewed as Unconstitutional

Nearly two-thirds of registered voters — 65% — think it is unconstitutional to require Americans to buy health insurance.  29% believe residents should be required to purchase coverage, and 7% are unsure.

79% of Republicans say the mandate is unconstitutional while 18% do not.  Even a plurality of Democrats — 48% — believe requiring all residents to purchase health insurance goes against the Constitution.  On the other hand, 41% of Democrats think Americans should be required to buy it.  Among independents, more than two-thirds — 68% — believe it is unconstitutional while 27% say it should be a requirement for all Americans to buy health insurance.

Table: Mandate to Buy Health Insurance

Getting Specific: Voters’ Views on Aspects of 2010 Health Care Law

While 65% of voters think it is unconstitutional to require residents to buy health insurance, voters have a more positive attitude toward other aspects of the law.  When it comes to the part of the law that allows children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance, 68% think it should remain law while 29% say that dimension should be repealed.  Three percent are unsure.

Almost six in ten voters — 59% — report the part of the health care law that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions should remain law while 36% want it repealed.  Five percent are unsure.

And, 57% think the aspect of health care reform which closes the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare prescription drug coverage by providing assistance to pay for costs should remain in effect while 32% say it should be repealed.  11% are unsure.

Table: Remaining on Parents’ Health Plan
Table: Pre-existing Conditions
Table: Closing the “Donut Hole”

McClatchy-Marist Poll Methodology