Americans Actually Love Everything About Obamacare — Except The Individual Mandate

With the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act expected in less than 24 hours, a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute details the American public’s overall feelings about President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare legislation.

The PRRI survey found that 43 per cent of respondents actually oppose a Supreme Court overturning all of the legislation. 

The survey is based on a weighted sample of roughly 1,000 adults. As this chart shows, there’s a significant partisan discrepancy. 

Obamacare poll

Photo: Public Religion Research Institute

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Although Americans have consistently viewed Obamacare unfavorably, the vast majority of its provisions have been popular with the majority of Americans. 

A recent Reuters poll found that there’s a common set of opinions regarding Obamacare. The poll found that 56 per cent of people were against the law as a whole, but what’s driving that opposition is Obamacare’s signature provision — the individual mandate requiring everyone to purchase insurance or pay a fine. The Reuters survey found that 61 per cent of respondents opposed the individual mandate. 

Every other provision was a hit. In fact, nine other meaningful features of the Affordable Care Act were popular with Reuters respondents.

For example, 61 per cent favour a provision allowing children to remain on parents’ insurance until they are 26 years old, and 82 per cent support a ban on insurance companies denying someone coverage based on a pre-existing condition. 

These are not partisan issues, either. Look at the wide-ranging support for banning insurance companies from cancelling policies if a person becomes ill:

Obamacare poll

Photo: Reuters/Ipsos

Republicans, actually, support most of these provisions, including banning insurance denials based on pre-existing conditions, the increased age limit for parental coverage, and even an increase to the Medicare payroll tax for individuals making more than $250,000. 

A recent Pew Research poll elicited similar results, and found that there would be little support for eliminating just the individual mandate. So despite Republican bluster over repealing all of the Obamacare legislation, there’s no indication that there is a groundswell of support for this type of measure, especially if the court decides to strike down only the individual mandate. 

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