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Influence of Politics Has Not Waned in Opinions About ACA

Partisan divisions in favorable opinion of the ACA have gotten larger rather than smaller over time

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Public opinion about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains divided 10 years after its passage, according to a study published online Feb. 19 in Health Affairs.

Mollyann Brodie, Ph.D., from the Kaiser Family Foundation in San Francisco, and colleagues reviewed 102 nationally representative polls assessing public opinion of the ACA (2010 through 2019).

The researchers found that opinion remains divided and 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. Between 2016 and 2019, the share of people who felt that the ACA had helped them and their family increased from 18 to 23 percent, while the share who felt that the ACA had hurt them and their family decreased from 29 to 23 percent. While the ACA was more popular than ever in late 2019, partisan divisions have grown. Across partisan groups, many core elements of the law remain popular, even as fewer people recognize the ACA as the source of some of these provisions.

“As the political fight over the ACA’s passage recedes in the public’s memory and the policy changes brought about by the law come to be seen as part of the status quo, opponents of the ACA will likely continue to face an uphill battle in efforts to chip away at the law, even in the face of lukewarm and divided public support for the ACA itself,” the authors write.

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