NYT/CBS Poll: Most Americans Oppose Health Law, Poll Finds
Two-thirds of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn some or all of the health care law, even though large majorities support a few of its major aspects, according to a poll by The New York Times and CBS News.
At the heart of the opposition is the individual mandate, the least popular part of the bill and a crucial piece at the center of the court arguments, which began Monday and will turn to the mandate on Tuesday.
In the latest poll, 47 percent said they oppose the law while 36 percent approve, with the rest having no opinion. The results are similar to previous surveys that have consistently found the law’s detractors outnumbering its supporters.
Keeping the law intact is preferred by a mere quarter of those surveyed, largely Democrats, reflecting the deep partisan divide within the overall findings that has persisted since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act just two years ago. And a bare majority of independents, an important swing group in this presidential election cycle, have remained fairly steadfast in siding with Republicans.
The contrast between Americans’ overall view of the law and their view of its component parts suggests that opponents have had more success making their case to the public than the White House has. In recent days, the Obama administration has once again stepped up its efforts to court support for the law, sending out mailings to women in battleground states, reaching out to Hispanic voters, another critical election bloc and enlisting “nurses for Obama” nationwide to advocate for the law.
The Obama administration also parses some new polls — including a Pew Research poll that found nearly as much support for expanding the law as for repealing it — as evidence that Americans over all do not favor gutting the entire law. On Sunday, David Plouffe, the White House adviser, told CNN that officials sensed that Americans did not want to rehash the health care battle all over again. “You ask people, should we go back to square one? People don’t want to do that,” Mr. Plouffe said.
But as has been the case since nearly the inception of the law, much confusion lingers over certain portions of it, underscoring Mr. Obama’s struggles to win public support for his benchmark legislation. In the Times/CBS News poll, less than half say they have a good understanding of the law, probably stemming in part from the fact that the provisions attracting the most opposition — like the mandate — have yet to be put into effect so therefore cannot be evaluated in tangible ways. (Few say they have personally benefitted from key elements.)
Yet other aspects of the law attract widespread support. Asked about a provision requiring insurance companies to cover people with a pre-existing medical condition, 85 percent said they approved of that element.
Similarly, 68 percent approved of the provision allowing children to remain on their parents’ policies until the age of 26, and 77 percent approved of a provision reducing the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients.