The Past, Present, And Possible Future Of Public Opinion On The Affordable Care Act

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, public opinion of it was narrowly divided and deeply partisan. This Health Affairs article reviews 102 nationally representative public opinion polls in the period 2010–19 and finds public opinion has shifted in a sustained way at only two points in time: in a negative direction following technical problems in the first enrollment period, and in a positive direction after President Donald Trump’s election and subsequent Republican repeal efforts.

In late 2019 the ACA was more popular than ever, yet partisan divisions have gotten larger rather than smaller. Many core elements of the law remain popular across partisan groups, even as fewer people recognize the ACA as the source of some of these provisions. While Republicans may never embrace the law that is seen as President Barack Obama’s legacy, the public’s reluctance to see certain benefits taken away will continue to be a roadblock for people who would seek to repeal or dismantle it.

Read the article in Health Affairs.

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