Opinion polls: Obama's health care reform law not a winner so far
The American public expects that Obama's new health care reform law will cause costs to rise and quality of care to drop, new opinion polls find.
Congress has spoken, and now the people have spoken: In polls released this week, Americans say they are not pleased with the healthcare reforms enacted by President Obama and congressional lawmakers.Skip to next paragraph
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Voters worry the new law will erode the quality of care and jack up costs, even while it helps reduce the number of people unable to get health insurance.
The new polls suggest that Democrats still have a big sales job ahead of them as November House and Senate elections draw closer, and as Americans try to learn more about what the law means for them (see "Healthcare Reform 101").
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama signed the second portion of the healthcare reform package, the so-called "reconciliation" that contains elements not in the original Senate legislation. As the president continues a public-relations campaign for the reforms, the polls taken since the House voted on March 21 don't all line up against him. But skepticism about the new law is sizable on several fronts:
Costs. Some 55 percent of Americans expect their own costs for healthcare to be higher because of the reforms, and 60 percent say the nation's overall health tab will rise, according to a Washington Post poll. Only 16 percent predict that medical spending in the US will be lower because of the law. Separately, a USA Today/Gallup poll found 64 percent saying the law "will cost the government too much."
Quality of care. Forty-four percent anticipate that the quality of their care will decline as a result of the reforms, while only 18 percent expect healthcare quality to rise, the Washington Post survey found. Similarly, 49 percent in a Rasmussen Reports survey said they think the quality of care will be adversely affected. In response to a more general question, 39 percent of respondents in a CNN/Opinion Research poll say they expect the law would make them and their family worse off, while 22 percent said "better off."
Size of government. Nearly half of Americans say the law "creates too much government involvement in the nation's health care system," according to the Washington Post poll, while 35 percent say the government role will be "about right." In the USA Today/Gallup poll, 65 percent said the law "will expand government's role in health care too much." Still, views on this subject are nuanced, with the same poll showing 51 percent saying the law doesn't go far enough in regulating health insurers, and 52 percent saying it should make a "public option" insurance plan available to all.