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The Affordable Care Act’s Mixed Reviews

A new poll from Gallup asking people who they think will be helped and hurt by the new law demonstrates why it is unlikely to become popular in the near future. Most Americans think the law will benefit some groups of people. Given that one of the main stated purposes of the law was to expand coverage to the uninsured, it is to be expected that a majority of people think it will help those currently without insurance. From Gallup:

In general, would you say that the 2010 healthcare law recently upheld by the Supreme Court will make things better or worse for each of the following? How about ... ? July 2012 results

The problem for the law, then, is that its perceived benefits are countered by the fact that a plurality think the law will hurt a large number of other groups. Most importantly the poll found a majority think the law will hurt taxpayers, and a plurality think it will hurt people with insurance. Since most voters are taxpayers who currently have insurance, it is not surprising that the poll also found that a plurality of people think the law will hurt them personally.

A law that a plurality of Americans think will make them personally worse off is simply never going to very popular as long as they believe that.

Back when Democrats were promising that health care reform would offer benefits to a huge swath of the country, as Obama did in his 2008 campaign when he promised to save a family $2,500 on their premiums, reform was popular. When the “reform” quickly stopped being about delivering clear benefits to most Americans, support eroded quickly.


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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