CONGRESS

Public Still Opposes Health Care Mandate

Linda Door, of Laguna Beach, Calif., protests against the Affordable Care Act. 
National Journal
Ronald Brownstein
Add to Briefcase
Ronald Brownstein
March 26, 2012, 5:30 p.m.

Amer­ic­ans re­main over­whelm­ingly against re­quir­ing in­di­vidu­als to pur­chase health in­sur­ance, but they di­vide in half about the health care law that Pres­id­ent Obama signed in 2010, ac­cord­ing to the latest United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll.

The poll found sweep­ing op­pos­i­tion to the so-called in­di­vidu­al man­date, whose con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity the Su­preme Court is con­sid­er­ing. But it also found the na­tion split along over­lap­ping lines of par­tis­an­ship and race when re­spond­ents were asked about the im­pact of Obama’s health re­form law and its ef­fort to ex­pand cov­er­age to the un­in­sured. At the same time, the Re­pub­lic­an pro­pos­al to re­struc­ture Medi­care in­to a premi­um-sup­port or vouch­er sys­tem faces res­ist­ance as wide­spread as the in­di­vidu­al man­date.

The man­date on in­di­vidu­als to pur­chase in­sur­ance or pay a pen­alty, as in earli­er na­tion­al polls, re­mains an idea without any sig­ni­fic­ant con­stitu­ency. Over­all, when asked if “the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should or should not be able to re­quire all Amer­ic­ans to ob­tain health in­sur­ance or else pay a fine,” just 28 per­cent of those sur­veyed said they sup­por­ted the man­date, while 66 per­cent op­posed it.

The man­date faced op­pos­i­tion even from a nar­row ma­jor­ity of non­white adults; al­most three-fifths of young people; and two-thirds of col­lege-edu­cated white wo­men — all pil­lars of the mod­ern Demo­crat­ic co­ali­tion. Even Demo­crats, by a 48 per­cent to 44 per­cent plur­al­ity, said they op­posed a man­date. Two-thirds of in­de­pend­ents re­jec­ted the idea, and op­pos­i­tion soared to nearly three-fourths among whites without a col­lege edu­ca­tion. Re­pub­lic­ans op­posed the idea by more than 15-to-1.

The United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, sur­veyed 1,003 adults on March 22-25. It has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.6 per­cent­age points.

Ques­tions about the re­form law’s over­all im­pact split the coun­try more closely. Asked for their over­all as­sess­ment of the 2010 law, 43 per­cent of adults said they favored it, while 46 per­cent op­posed it.

Re­ac­tion di­verged along par­tis­an lines: While Demo­crats backed the law by 75 per­cent to 17 per­cent, Re­pub­lic­ans op­posed it by an even more lop­sided 86 per­cent to 6 per­cent. In­de­pend­ents split, with 45 per­cent op­pos­ing and 43 per­cent sup­port­ing.

The ra­cial di­vi­sion was equally vivid. Sixty-eight per­cent of non­white adults said they sup­por­ted the law, with only 18 per­cent op­posed. Among whites, just 33 per­cent ap­proved of the law, while 58 per­cent op­posed it.

White voters’ at­ti­tudes fis­sured fur­ther along edu­ca­tion­al lines. Al­though whites without a col­lege de­gree are un­in­sured at high­er rates than whites with ad­vanced edu­ca­tion, just 28 per­cent of non­col­lege whites said they favored the law, while 61 per­cent op­posed it. Work­ing-class white men and wo­men were equally du­bi­ous.

Col­lege-edu­cated whites were more sup­port­ive over­all, but with a sig­ni­fic­ant gender gap. Just 37 per­cent of col­lege-plus white men sup­por­ted the law, while 56 per­cent op­posed it. Col­lege-edu­cated white wo­men, usu­ally the white demo­graph­ic group most re­cept­ive to Demo­crats, were again more en­thu­si­ast­ic: 51 per­cent of them favored the law, while 46 per­cent op­posed it.

The coun­try di­vided sim­il­arly closely on an­oth­er ques­tion that asked about the law’s at­tempt to ex­pand cov­er­age to the un­in­sured. The ques­tion noted that fed­er­al es­tim­ates pro­ject the law would provide health in­sur­ance to 33 mil­lion of the 50 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans now without it at a cost of about $150 bil­lion. The ques­tion then asked re­spond­ents wheth­er Con­gress should re­peal the pro­gram be­cause it is un­af­ford­able “at a time of large budget de­fi­cits,” or keep it “be­cause it’s im­port­ant to re­duce the num­ber of Amer­ic­ans without health in­sur­ance.”

By 45 per­cent to 42 per­cent, re­spond­ents said that Con­gress should keep the pro­gram. Nearly four-fifths of Re­pub­lic­ans backed re­peal, while al­most three-fourths of Demo­crats wanted to main­tain the law. In­de­pend­ents, by 45 per­cent to 40 per­cent, sup­por­ted main­tain­ing the cov­er­age ex­pan­sion.

Once again, the ra­cial di­vide may be even more telling. Al­most two-thirds of minor­it­ies said that Con­gress should main­tain the law’s pro­vi­sions to ex­pand cov­er­age; by 49 per­cent to 38 per­cent, though, whites backed re­peal. Still, that’s a slightly bet­ter show­ing than the 33 per­cent of whites who favored the law over­all. Among whites, those without col­lege de­grees ac­coun­ted for all of the dif­fer­ence between the two ques­tions.

In a meas­ure of how dif­fi­cult it is to gen­er­ate sup­port for big change in al­most any dir­ec­tion on health care, the Medi­care re­struc­tur­ing at the cen­ter of the House GOP’s long-term budget plan fared as badly in the sur­vey as Obama’s in­di­vidu­al man­date. Asked what Medi­care should look like in the fu­ture, just 26 per­cent said it “should be changed to a sys­tem where the gov­ern­ment provides seni­ors with a fixed sum of money they could use either to pur­chase private health in­sur­ance or to pay the cost of re­main­ing in the cur­rent Medi­care pro­gram.” Fully 64 per­cent said “Medi­care should con­tin­ue as it is today, with the gov­ern­ment “¦ pay­ing doc­tors and hos­pit­als dir­ectly for the ser­vices they provide to seni­ors.”

Even a sol­id 56 per­cent to 30 per­cent ma­jor­ity of Re­pub­lic­ans pre­ferred the cur­rent sys­tem.

What We're Following See More »
IT’S OFFICIAL
Trump to Nominate Carson to Lead HUD
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Source:
TOO COSTLY, SAYS GREEN PARTY
Stein Drops Pennsylvania Recount
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."

Source:
ANOTHER MORNING TWEETSTORM
Trump Threatens 35% Tariff on Companies that Move Overseas
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."

Source:
EASEMENT DENIED
Army Corps Stopping Work on Dakota Pipeline
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Army Corps of Engineers has decided to deny the easement for the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the National Congress of American Indians said in a statement Sunday. The decision would essentially halt the construction of the oil pipeline right above the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and it also comes as demonstrators across the country flocked to North Dakota in protest."

Source:
LOSES REFERENDUM VOTE
Italian Prime Minister to Step Down
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will submit his resignation today, after a referendum vote went against his side. The development represents yet another win for populism around the globe, as the populist 5 Stars Movement, Renzi's chief rivals, took 60 percent of the vote. Renzi claimed the reforms "were vital to modernize Italy."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login