May 11th, 2014
09:00 AM ET
4 months ago

CNN Poll: Should Obamacare be kept or repealed?

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans want to keep the federal health care law as is, or make some changes to improve it, according to a new national poll.

But a CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday also indicates public attitudes have been largely unaffected by news that 8 million people have enrolled in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Read the full CNN/ORC International results

Despite a victory lap by the White House following the release of that number, only 12% of Americans surveyed consider the law a success. Nearly half say it’s too soon to tell, and just under four in 10 consider it a failure.

According to the poll, 61% want Congress to leave the Affordable Care Act alone (12%) or make some changes to the law in an attempt to make it work better (49%).

Thirty-eight percent of those questioned say the law should be repealed and replaced with a completely different system (18%) or say the measure should be repealed, with Americans going back to the system in place before the law was implemented (20%).

Two other surveys conducted earlier this year – Kaiser Family Foundation in April and National Public Radio in March – also indicated majority support for keeping and improving the law. Two others, (NBC News/Wall Street Journal in April and ABC News/Washington Post in March), suggested Americans were divided on whether to keep the measure or repeal it.

As expected, there is a wide partisan divide, with nearly nine in 10 Democrats saying the law should be kept as is, or improved. That number drops to 55% among independents and 38% among Republicans. More than six in 10 Republicans want the measure repealed.

"Your feelings about the law are influenced by your station in life," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is general support for the law among young people and among people who are approaching retirement age. Support for repeal is higher among people between 35 and 49 years old, and highest among senior citizens, who are roughly split on what Congress should do."

Battle over Obamacare

Opposition to the law, approved in spring 2010 when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House, was a factor in the Republican wave that November. The GOP took back the House following a historic 63-seat pick up, and trimmed the Democratic majority in the Senate.

The measure was also a major issue in President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election victory over Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Democrats picked up seats in the Senate and House in that election. And the measure is in the spotlight again in this year's midterm elections, as Republicans make their opposition to the law a centerpiece of their campaign.

Last autumn's disastrous roll out of the HealthCare.gov website was a top story for months. Even though things have improved, the poll indicates 47% say the problems facing the new law will not be solved, with 51% optimistic things will eventually be fixed.

The poll was conducted for CNN on May 2-4 by ORC International, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's for questions regarding the Democratic and GOP presidential nominations is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

soundoff (446 Responses)
  1. Kimo

    The primary problem with US healthcare is that we pay twice as much as an other country for it and get much worse outcomes part of the reason being that our administrative costs are eight times as high due to insurance companies and others taking their cuts and because it is a for profit industry where everyone thinks they should get rich, from doctors to hospital administrators to medical equipment suppliers to pharmaceutical companies. Obamacare will probably have no affect on any of that and in that respect is not just a giveaway to patients but to the health care industry.

    May 11, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. John

    If you live in one of the states that refused to expand Medicaid it really hurts right now many middle income families. Within the states that did expand that program and with the more competitive market price points I think are getting just about as low as you can hope for if we demand insurance companies take people with pre-existing conditions. Because we really can't go back to denying people who don't have pre-existing conditions, the only step that would likely be cheaper would be to move to single payer. If you cut out the insurance companies and their profit you would at least have a chance to decrease costs over the long run. With them in the middle, we will likely see prices rise until it is upward of 25% of our income.

    May 11, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. PoliticalAnt

    If the insurance offered by one's employer is too expensive or one can't afford it, I believe one is allowed to go on federal or state exchanges and purchase a cheaper plan. If you can't afford any insurance plan with or without subsidies, I believe you are allowed to get Medicaid via Medicaid Expansion unless your state rejected it. Your last option is going to free community health centers which Obamacare provides expanded funding for. Am I wrong about any of that?

    May 11, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. mike

    my state did not opt out out of medicare expansion and every person who needed healthcare got it, except for the few who would rather them or a family member die before signing up for the ACA. Racism is a self inflicted wound.

    May 11, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. judith

    John Boehner's head must be exploding at the news.

    May 11, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Peter Grenader

    @Non believer: talk about agenda commenting!

    If you would have read the article, you would have seen the that 61% want the law left alone, and only 18% say it should be repealed and a better system put in place, and 20% think it should be repealed and the old system returned.

    May 11, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Tyler

    Either America has become very uneducated or a lot of people just don't care about their rights. What about the fact that you literally sign away your lifes privacy upon signing up with Obamacare.

    May 11, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  8. Jack Alex

    As a member of the republican party, I have to say shame on the GOP, both in Congress and the Senate. You folks could have been making things easier for the American people, instead you make things tougher. You know what elected ACA? You did. You could have worked across party lines but no. Keep your minds thinking the elitest far right thoughs and none of you will get re-elected.

    May 11, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. RGC

    Everyone that I live around and work with say that obamacare is a disaster and should repealed.

    May 11, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Thompson

    I might find the enrollment numbers more impressive if there wasn't a PENALTY for not enrolling by the deadline. 8 million enrollments isn't much of an accomplishment when you're literally threatening to punish people if they don't enroll. That's like holding a sword to someone's back while they walk the plank then celebrating them jumping off on their own.

    May 11, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Coverup News Network

    Those who support this act don't have any clue of it's harmful effects, because they haven't set in yet. Yes there are those who now have health care insurance who never had it before, but there couldn't have been a more irresponsible way to accomplish this. Most of those 8 million enrollees are people who will receive subsidized plans paid for by the taxpayers or are those who had insurance to begin with, and their plans were cancelled. Rather than pay a huge "tax" aka fine, they folded and signed up for Obamacare. However, as most news agencies don't report, we don't even know how many enrollees have paid for their plans. Healthcare is best understood by physicians and others in the health care community, but somehow this law was designed by people with no background in healthcare, such as politicians and lawyers. As stated by many others, this will not improve health care by one iota, and will surely make patient care much worse as it already is doing in many places. At least the left will be happy with the national debt continuing to climb so they have more reason to raise taxes to pay for their social welfare fanticies.

    May 11, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  12. carl

    I love the last paragraph, 1008 participants, leading to the headline that most approve of Obamacare. Some things never change. WR Hearst would be proud.

    May 11, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. bill

    take a good look at a government run medical facility–the VA-that is how our health care will be with obamacare. Government has no business in any business. Obama's college paper even listed health care as one of the factors in taking over a government. Info came from RULES OF REVOLUTION: THE ALINSKY METHOD

    May 11, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. massms

    Guaranteed the poll is skewed.

    May 11, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Zardoz

    Well, the bones of ACA are now in place and the average American worker now has the freedom to choose an employer without the treat of loosing health coverage while pursuing their American Dream. Thats good, I never liked anyones professional options limited by health insurance, thats tantamount to indentured servitude. What is missing is a collective bargaining element, where the pools of people on the exchange can collectively negotiate benefits directly with the insurance companies. The power of numbers has always worked well in dragging down the cost. This is the missing component.

    May 11, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Robert

    A fairly misleading piece, although technically accurate. Yes, a majority of Americans want to keep it but almost 40% do not. That IS a majority but hardly a compelling one, especially given the number of people who want to make changes.

    As for the administration's "Victory Lap", at SOME point we WILL know how many people currently enrolled already DID have insurance and got it cancelled. Put another way, my very strong belief is that we're going to find out that the number of people receiving insurance through Obamacare that did NOT have it beforehand is going to be pretty small. Once that number is revealed (and you can bet the administration will do everything in its power to keep it from being revealed) THEN do a survey and see what percentage of people say it's a win.

    Republicans need to develop and communicate a cogent set of recommendations for replacing the ACA, as well as how they'll do it. Once that is done, we'll see what the numbers look like. But I don't think they're going to get any better for Obamacare.

    May 11, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Clowns Rule

    I don't believe this poll for a second. Obamacare is a financial / logistical mess that will bankrupt this country. It is just a means of the government controlling more of our lives. I was one of many who had my health insurance cancelled and saw a steep increase in the new policy. Please print what our fearless leader said about this a few years ago... "affordable health care". LOL By the way this is going to hurt small businesses that give jobs to many of the lower and middle class. They will simply step of the layoffs and cut people's hours back to less than 28 hour / week. What a great plan!

    May 11, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Roberto

    As long as they can keep signing and signing ALL, I'm all for it. Granted, I wished for it to fail early on, but think our nation should (I just wish it wasn't thrust so sharply down our throats) keep it.

    May 11, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Donnie the Lion

    "All we need to do now is to look to how the government run VA treat patients. If you like waiting months to see a doctor, you will be thrilled with Obamacare. The VA has given as all a big glimpse into our future." This statement couldn't be MORE wrong. "What about the fact that you literally sign away your lifes privacy upon signing up with Obamacare." More hyperbolic lies. If the ACA sucked as bad as people say it does, disapproval rate would be 80%+.

    It has helped a lot of people (not the majority of Americans as far as insurance premiums, no). It helps with screenings and disease prevention. The sicker you are, the more the medical profession can make off of you/your insurance company.

    Don't give the medical industry that satisfaction.

    May 11, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. mike

    Healthcare for all. Whats next "a cure for cancer for all" if there was one. Is it humanity or as republicans put it, insanity.

    May 11, 2014 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. fghfghf

    What we need is a single payer system, like every other first world nation except the USA has.

    Every other first world nation, spends less then half as much, with every single citizen covered. No one has to worry about going bankrupt if they get sick. They don't have to worry about getting health care if they get sick. They just walk in, walk out. None of that bullcrap overhead that we pay in the US. None of the massive insurance company profits stealing dollars that should be spent on actual care. If we were any other first world nation we would be spending less on health care then we are now. Taxes would be lower, and we would all have full coverage with no deductibles.

    Hell we spend twice as much on health care in this country– from tax dollars–then other first world nations, and from that money only 1/4 are only partially covered. Its sickening....

    When it comes to health care for the average citizen, the united states is nearly a 3rd world country. Sure, if you are filthy rich, the health care is pretty damn good. But if you are middle class or lower, you are screwed in this country.

    May 11, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Imagine That

    Dan

    "Count me as one of the 38% who want something else. A single payer system like medicare for all."

    Imagine that. You want Medicare for all, not this Heritage Foundations scheme to force Americans to buy private health insurance from United, Cigna, Humana, and Blue Cross.
    I do too, but the 38% you say you're part of just want full repeal with no specified replacement.
    For now, I have to say I'm in the 49% who want it improved (and eventually to become Medicare for all, even if I will be on Medicare when Hillary is up for re-election in 2020)

    Actually though, you're not in the 38%, you're only part of the 18% who want to repeal and replace and we have no idea how many of the 18% desire single payer like you do.

    May 2-4,2014

    Leave health care law as is 12%
    Make some changes 49%
    Repeal and replace 18%
    Repeal, go back to original 20%
    No opinion *

    (I hope this formats properly as it can't be edited after I post)

    May 11, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. RomneyWho

    Rolling right along . . . . Get on board or get run over , the choice is yours! :(

    May 11, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. BADGUY

    I would like to see Medicare issue comprehensive health care policies for those under 65. Medicare's over head is only 2%, while private insurance policies run between 3 and 7%. Also Medicare does not pay multi-million dollar salaries for management personnel. Medicare is an accepted government service...accepted by both the left and right. It's time we cut costs and EXPAND this very successful government program.

    May 11, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. Kanageloa

    What I read is 67% think it's flawed for the most part and it needs to be changed. The others really have no clue as to what's going on. The ACA was written by a large number of people, mostly lawyers, that have no business or medical expertise. How many politicians have really read the ACA and understand it? Several thousand pages? Are you kidding me? And they want IRS goons to enforce it. Seriously, don't you see a problem here?

    May 11, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18