The Affordable Care Act wins 55% support among the public for its “highest rating” since becoming law nearly a decade ago, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll released Friday.
Kaiser said the “clear majority” of support is the highest in more than 100 polls the nonprofit health foundation has conducted. The ACA was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama and has expanded health insurance coverage to more than 20 million Americans.
“The recent uptick reflects strong support among Democrats, 85% of whom now express favorable views,” Kaiser said in its analysis. “A narrow majority (53%) of independents also view the law favorably. While most Republicans (77%) still hold unfavorable views towards the ACA, the poll suggests that Republican voters have largely moved on from efforts to repeal the ACA and now rank opposition to a single-payer government health plan like Medicare-for-all among their top health priorities.”
The analysis comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a lawsuit pushed by Republican attorneys general and backed by the Donald Trump administration that would overturn the ACA. Meanwhile, Democrats running for President including former vice president Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg are campaigning to “build on Obamacare.”
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The ACA created public exchanges that allow Americans to buy individual coverage and many get federal government subsidies to do so that are based on income. The ACA included generous funding to allow more states to expand their Medicaid coverage for the poor and all but 14 Republican-leaning states have done so.
Obamacare has been controversial for the last few election cycles but will be less so in 2020, the Kaiser analysis indicates. Republicans, in particular, are ready to fight proposals to expand Medicare coverage and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ single payer version of Medicare for All in particular.
“Republicans seem to be shifting their ire from the ACA to Medicare-for-all,” said Drew Altman, chief executive of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The gulf between Republicans and Democrats on health has never been wider.”
The popularity of the ACA comes as the insurance market for sales of individual Obamacare coverage has improved. Health insurers including Centene and Oscar Health have been expanding into new markets to sell individual coverage offered under the ACA and the business has become more profitable.