Despite the occurrence of major technical glitches with the health care exchange website in the weeks since it went live, Americans’ assessments of the future impact of the health care law have not changed much since August. Americans remain more likely to say the law will make the U.S. health care situation and their family’s health care situation worse rather than better. Roughly one in three Americans still believe that the law will not make much difference for their family.
These results come from a Gallup poll conducted October 26-28.
Americans are now slightly more likely to say they are “very familiar” with the health care law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act and unofficially known as “Obamacare,” than they were in August, but the percentage who say they are “somewhat familiar” with the law has declined concomitantly. As a result, the 68 percent of Americans who are at least somewhat familiar with the health care law is unchanged from August.
Americans’ approval of the health care law has also been relatively steady – varying between 41 percent and 45 percent – in four measures taken over the past four months. Gallup surveys conducted October 18-20 and October 26-28 show a smaller gap between the percentage who disapprove and the percentage who approve compared with last summer. This reinforces the finding Gallup has previously reported that the federal shutdown and health exchange problems to date have not caused Americans to have a more negative view of the healthcare law. Still, Americans remain slightly more likely to disapprove than approve of the health care law overall.
The health care law has been in the spotlight during the recent government shutdown and as the federal health exchange website has experienced significant technical problems since it opened on October 1. Still, Americans’ perceptions of the future impact of the health care law and their familiarity with it have been stable over the last several months, and approval of the law has varied within a narrow range.
It appears that Americans’ views on the law are relatively fixed at the moment, leaving open the question of whether support will rise once the law’s provisions are fully implemented and more uninsured Americans get health insurance.