With the Supreme Court ruling last month in favor of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the last major hurdle seems to have removed. And a recent Gallup polling indicates the nation sentiment for the new healthcare law is improving. Since the June 25th legal decision, America’s approval of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at 47 percent – that’s the highest it’s been since 2012:
The Supreme Court case focused on whether those health insurance plans purchased through the government’s exchanges (the Health Insurance Marketplace) would still be eligible for tax credit subsidies. As it was written, the subsidies were only permitted for plans purchased through the Marketplace. The 16 states who ran their own exchanges wouldn’t have offered subsidies had the Court not ruled for the ACA.
Without these subsidies, millions of people wouldn’t have been able to afford their monthly premiums and would have had to drop their coverage. But with the Court ruling in the law’s favor, potential and existing beneficiaries don’t have to the looming threat of their long-term coverage being taken away.
The future looks bright for Obamacare
With the Court’s final decision, it seems like clear sailing is the forecast for the healthcare law. But this higher approval rate is actually not a very common experience. Before and right after Obamacare’s passage, the average American didn’t really view the healthcare law too favorably. As of last year’s midterm elections, the ACA only had a 37 percent approval rating. However, its approval rate has increased by 10 percent between November 2014 and June 25, 2015.
And even more impressive, this higher approval rate was generally seen with all demographic groups, including race, age and education level (see table below). Even before the Court’s ruling, polling showed that the American public was taking a more favorable view of the law. But the overwhelming legal victory may have been just the thing to really improve the nation’s views of the ACA, as it now seems more legitimate and respectable.
Another factor in Obamacare’s high approval rate may be the higher approval rate for the President himself. The latest Gallup poll shows that President Obama’s latest average quarterly approval rate is 46.4 percent, his best since mid-2013. And as many associate the ACA with the President (hence the Obamacare nickname), the healthcare law is feeling the benefits, as well. And even if faced with a future Republican-controlled Congress or a Republican president, experts believe that Obamacare will likely survive and thrive. That’s because the Republican majority would still have to overcome a potential Democratic filibuster if they tried to repeal or change parts of the law.
For this survey, conducted July 1-3 and 5, 2015, Gallup interviewed 2,013 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The researchers took into account specific demographics, including gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density and phone status (cell vs. landline).