Majority of Americans (and now more Republicans) support Obamacare rules

On the heels of news that medical bills are becoming less of a financial burden for Americans, a November Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows that the vast majority of Americans do not want to repeal Obamacare. Some do want to see it scaled back, however.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais 2017 home page on a laptop in Washington.

Despite political enmity stirred up by the Affordable Care Act, a large majority of Americans across the political spectrum support most of its provisions, according to a November poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. What's more, that support has increased since the presidential election. 

More than 80 percent of the 1,202 nationally representative American adults Kaiser polled by phone last month supported ACA rules that include mandates to insurance companies to allow young adults to stay on their parents' plans, eliminate out-of-pocket costs of preventive services, and reduce the cost of medications for Medicare recipients. The least popular piece of the law, particularly among Republicans and Independents, is the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or else pay a fine to the government.

The survey comes on the heels of news that fewer people are struggling to pay their medical bills, according to a report released by the National Center for Health Statistics earlier this week. This is because more Americans are insured through the ACA, and because an expanding economy is finally employing more people and raising their incomes.

While Donald Trump promised repeatedly during his presidential campaign to repeal the health care law if elected – and Republican lawmakers have tried dozens of times to gut Obama’s 2010 law – fewer Americans support a complete repeal now that President-elect Trump is readying to take office in January.

Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, November 2016
Given what you know about health care reform, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it?

According to the Kaiser poll, which has a plus or minus 3-point margin of error, only a quarter of responders said the week after the election that they wanted the law repealed, compared to 32 percent who wanted a repeal in October. Notably, many Republicans appear to have changed their minds: 52 percent of Republicans said after the election that the ACA should be repealed. In October, 69 percent were calling for a repeal.

While many Americans don’t want the law completely scrapped, some do want it scaled back (17 percent in November vs. 9 percent in October). At the same time, 30 percent want the law expanded, and 19 percent want it to stay as is.

Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, November 2016
What should do President-elect Donald Trump and Congress do when it comes to the health care law?

It is becoming increasingly more likely that instead of a repeal, the law will be scaled down and revised under President Trump. The president-elect already has said that he will keep some of Obamacare’s most popular features, including the mandate that insurance companies cannot deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Generally, Republicans have said they want to transfer oversight and funding of health care to the states and get rid of the Obamacare state exchanges. As a replacement, the president-elect has called for tax-free health savings accounts that would allow people to save money for health-care costs, as well as deductions of health-care premiums from personal income taxes. Trump also has said he wants to allow insurance companies to sell plans across state lines to spur competition.

Obamacare has expanded Medicaid coverage and provided federal subsidies that have helped low-income people buy health coverage. Now, the rate of non-elderly adults without insurance dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013, the year before the law went into effect, to 8.6 percent this year, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The federal government reports that 20 million more people have insurance under the ACA, though most people still get coverage through their employers. The law hasn't been a money saver for everyone: Partly because the nation’s biggest insurers, including Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, have pulled out of most state exchanges because too many sick customers made them less profitable, premiums for some ACA participants are expected to rise by 25 percent in 2017.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Majority of Americans (and now more Republicans) support Obamacare rules
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today