Remember when people got excited about health care reform? (photo: SEIU775N via Flickr)

The new health care law is trending down. More people strongly or mildly oppose it than strongly or weakly favor it, a switch from the figures a month ago, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF) poll. Here’s what the poll asked and revealed:

As you may know, a new health reform bill was signed into law earlier this year. Given what you know about the new health reform law, do you have a generally (favorable) or generally (unfavorable) opinion of it? (Is that a very favorable/unfavorable or somewhat favorable/unfavorable opinion?)

05/10/10 04/01/101
Very favorable 14 23
Somewhat favorable 27 23
Somewhat unfavorable 12 10
Very unfavorable 32 30
Don’t know/Refused 14 14

I’m not surprised by this result. Currently, the law is doing very little for the vast majority of Americans, because most of the law’s provisions do not go into effect until 2014.

The sharp drop in people who have a very favorable opinion of the law should have been expected and may continue. Even if you think everything the law will do is great, such as exchanges, tax credits, excise tax and the employer mandate, it’s a little unusual to have a “very favorable” view of any of it, since those programs will not be set up for years to come. This is human nature. It is hard to stay enthusiastic about things that won’t happen right away.

The important thing for Congressional Democrats probably won’t be how popular the law is but whether it remains a priority for voters after being out of the headlines for months. In retrospect, the better political move for Democrats might have been to jam through health care reform in mid-2009 to provide maximum time before the next election. Or, making the law go into effect right away could have helped people see the benefits immediately.

The new health care law is trending down. More people strongly or mildly oppose it than strongly or weakly favor it, a switch from the figures a month ago, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation (PDF) poll. Here’s what the poll asked and revealed:

As you may know, a new health reform bill was signed into law earlier this year. Given what you know about the new health reform law, do you have a generally (favorable) or generally (unfavorable) opinion of it? (Is that a very favorable/unfavorable or somewhat favorable/unfavorable opinion?)

05/10/10 04/01/101
Very favorable 14 23
Somewhat favorable 27 23
Somewhat unfavorable 12 10
Very unfavorable 32 30
Don’t know/Refused 14 14

I’m not surprised by this result. Currently, the law is doing very little for the vast majority of Americans, because most of the law’s provisions do not go into effect until 2014.

The sharp drop in people who have a very favorable opinion of the law should have been expected and may continue. Even if you think everything the law will do is great, such as exchanges, tax credits, excise tax and the employer mandate, it’s a little unusual to have a “very favorable” view of any of it, since those programs will not be set up for years to come. This is human nature. It is hard to stay enthusiastic about things that won’t happen right away.

The important thing for Congressional Democrats probably won’t be how popular the law is but whether it remains a priority for voters after being out of the headlines for months. In retrospect, the better political move for Democrats might have been to jam through health care reform in mid-2009 to provide maximum time before the next election. Or, making the law go into effect right away could have helped people see the benefits immediately.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com