Support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ACA or “the health reform law”) has never been very high since it was signed into law on March 23, 2010. As can be seen in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Tracking Poll interactive graphic below (assuming the embedded link is working) the percentage of individuals with favorable and unfavorable opinions of the law have remained relatively close.
Public policy is often said to be in the right place if approximately equal numbers of people agree and disagree with the implementation of new laws and programs. The Heartland Monitor Poll described in a December 8th National Journal article paints a slightly more complicated picture of the health reform law, i.e. a 3-way split:
“On the impact of health care reform, Americans sort almost exactly into three camps, with about one-third each saying Obama’s plan will improve the system by increasing access and lowering costs, hurt the system by disrupting it, or not doing enough to change it.”
(Note – In the Heartland poll, those responding “not doing enough to change it” are likely split between the favorable and unfavorable groups in the KFF poll because of how the question is worded.)
These two polls indicate that the landmark health reform law – despite all the harsh politics surrounding it – is in the right zone of change that will make significant improvements without creating major disruptions. In the world of politics, this creates potent ammunition for all sides to use in their rhetorical battles, but from a policy perspective, it’s pretty close to coordinated clusters of laser guided missiles….. if missiles built or improved things instead of blowing them up.