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For first time, Affordable Care Act more popular than not

By Eric DuVall
For first time, Affordable Care Act more popular than not
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., participates in a Capitol Hill press conference where his party opposed the Republican-led repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Though it has been largely unpopular since its passage in 2010, a new poll finds a narrow plurality of Americans now approve of the legislation, more than the number who disapprove of it. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- For the first time since it was passed -- and potentially only days before its repeal -- more Americans than not say they approve of President Barack Obama's signature 2010 healthcare law, known as Obamacare.

According to a CNN/ORC poll released Thursday, 49 percent of those surveyed said they liked the Affordable Care Act, versus 47 percent who said they disliked it. CNN began polling on Obamacare in March of 2010.

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The findings come as Republicans, now in control of both houses of Congress and, beginning Friday, the White House, prepare to swiftly repeal large swaths of the healthcare law they say violates an individual's constitutional rights by requiring them to buy health insurance and puts onerous financial requirements on businesses by forcing them to offer insurance to all full-time employees.

While the entirety of the Affordable Care Act has proven generally unpopular, certain elements of it are widely popular. Though they were not polled specifically by CNN, Americans have largely warmed to a few key tenants of the law, including barring insurance companies from instituting lifetime limits on coverage or refusing to offer coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions. Americans also largely support allowing young people to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26.

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At present, about 20 million Americans are enrolled in health insurance plans purchased on government exchanges set up under the law, and paid for in part by tax credits that make insurance premiums affordable for middle class workers.

It remains unclear whether Republicans who have promised to repeal the ACA will do away with the more popular portions of the law as part of a blanket repeal, or leave portions of it in place while they work to draft their own legislation over the coming weeks and months. President-elect Donald Trump has expressed support for maintaining the more popular elements of the law. Trump promised to put forth his proposal for a replacement system soon after being sworn in on Friday. Congressional Republicans who will be responsible for drafting the ACA's replacement have expressed support for a number of ideas, though no single path forward has been endorsed by GOP leadership on Capitol Hill.

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