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Majority Say Keep Obamacare, Fix What Doesn't Work

A new Kaiser poll shows bipartisan support for the ACA.
Majority Say Keep Obamacare, Fix What Doesn't Work

This should have conservatives running around in circles nervously, because if they were to actually succeed with their crusade to kill the Affordable Care Act, a lot of people will be very angry.

The latest Kaiser News poll has bad news for the haters: More than a majority either like it the way it is or want it fixed. Only a very small, vocal, hateful majority want it repealed.

First, let's talk about the Fox News effect. When asked about different provisions of the ACA, there was widespread approval. Unfortunately a fairly large chunk of people were not aware that those provisions were actually in the ACA.

At the same time that the public reports having a favorable view of many of the component parts of the ACA, large shares remain unaware that the law actually does some of these things. A few of the law’s provisions are both popular and relatively well-known – for example, 71 percent are aware that the law extends dependent coverage up to age 26, and eight in ten have a favorable view of this provision. More than half are also aware of several other popular provisions, including the law’s subsidy assistance to low and moderate income individuals (63 percent), Medicaid expansion (60 percent), and the so-called “guaranteed issue” provision that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on health status (54 percent). Yet, in each of these three cases, the share who are aware of the provision lags roughly 15 percentage points behind the share who view it favorably.

Two other popular provisions are even less well-known. Fewer than half (43 percent) are aware that the law eliminates out-of-pocket costs for preventive services, and just four in ten (40 percent, including 38 percent of seniors) know that it gradually closes the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole.” At the other end of the spectrum, the law’s least popular provision – the individual mandate – is widely recognized, with nearly eight in ten (78 percent) correctly answering that the ACA requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or else pay a fine.

Still, sane folks are sick of the national debate over it and wish the country would move on to other topics:

While personal conversations may be on the rise, many Americans appear to be weary of the national debate about the law. Just over half the public (53 percent) say they’re tired of hearing about the debate over the ACA and want the country to focus more on other issues, while about four in ten (42 percent) say they think it’s important for the country to continue the debate. Democrats and those with a favorable view of the law are more likely to say they’re tired of hearing about the debate, while Republicans and those who view the law unfavorably are more evenly split between those who are tired of hearing about it and those who want the debate to continue.

Here's the kicker:

Perhaps reflecting this sense that the debate has gone on long enough, more of the public would like to see Congress keep the law in place and work to improve it (49 percent) or keep it as is (10 percent) rather than repeal it and replace it with a Republican-sponsored alternative (11 percent) or repeal it outright (18 percent).

So go ahead, Republicans. You keep right up with your bogus sob stories about the ACA and how horrible it is while we go about the business of working to expand Social Security and get immigration reform done.

Bonus: Katrina Vanden Heuvel's latest column about Republicans loving lawsuits and repeal votes over actually helping people.

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