54 percent disapprove, 43 percent approve of health care law, Gallup finds


McClatchy Washington Bureau

A lot of people still don’t like the Affordable Care Act, a new Gallup poll released Friday found.

“Americans continue to evaluate the Affordable Care Act negatively, and their basic opinions of the law have been fairly stable over the past year,” a Gallup analysis said. “That may suggest Americans have already made up their mind about the law, for the most part reflecting their underlying political orientation, and the law's implementation is not going to influence how they feel about the law.”

The open enrollment period closed March 31, and Gallup’s April 7-8 survey found 43 percent approved and 54 percent disapproved of the law. While approval numbers are slightly higher than estimates since November, disapproval is about the same.

“Americans' generally negative views of the law have changed little over the past year as more and more of its provisions have gone into effect,” Gallup reported.

Forty-five percent expect the law to make the U.S. healthcare situation worse in the long run, compared with 37 percent who thought the law would make things better.

For the law’s backers, Gallup offered this note: “There is some evidence that Americans' perceptions of how the law might affect their own situation both in the short-term and long-term are changing and becoming less negative. Those shifts would make sense if the law works as intended to bring more people into the health insurance system and to make it more affordable for those struggling to pay for it, while not materially affecting the healthcare of those who have it and can afford it.”

But, Gallup noted, “Many of the provisions of the law have yet to go into effect, and the Obama administration has delayed the dates that many are scheduled to take effect, most notably the requirement that employers with at least 50 workers must offer full-time employees health insurance. That, too, has the potential to influence Americans' views about whether the law is beneficial, neutral, or harmful to their own situation.”

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