CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?
March 26th, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 years ago

CNN Poll: Should health care law be overturned?

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans don't want the Supreme Court to completely overturn the landmark yet controversial 2010 federal health care reform law, but only a quarter of the public wants to see the high court leave the measure alone, according to a new national survey.

And a CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that while the two year old law is growing in popularity, especially among independent voters, half of all Americans still oppose it, although some who disapprove of the measure do so because they think it's not liberal enough.

See full results (pdf)

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The poll's Monday release comes as the Supreme Court began hearing three days of potentially landmark oral arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care measure, formally know as the Affordable Care Act, which was championed by President Barack Obama and passed by a Democratic controlled Congress.

According to the poll, 43% of Americans approve of the law, up five points from last November, with 50% saying they disapprove, down six points from last autumn. Of those who currently disapprove of the measure, 37% say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, with 10% saying the give the measure a thumbs down because it's not liberal enough.

"The views of Republicans and Democrats on the health care law have barely budged since last year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But support among independents grew from 32 percent to 41 percent since November."

The survey indicates that 23% want the Supreme Court to leave the current law as is, with 43% saying some provisions should be overturned, and three in ten saying the justices should overturn the entire measure.

The principle question before the justices is whether the requirement that people buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The provision, known as the "individual mandate," was designed to help more people get affordable health insurance coverage - including the 49 million uninsured today - and bring health costs under control.

The health insurance mandate splits the public right down the middle, with a bare 51% majority of those questioned saying that they oppose it and 47% favoring the provision.

"Most women support the individual mandate," Holland notes. "Most men oppose it."

The potentially landmark arguments over the constitutionality of the sweeping health care law is one of the most politically charged cases in recent years in from of the Supreme Court. With a divided bench, do Americans think the justices will base their decisions mostly on an objective interpretation of the law? Fifty percent say that the justices' decisions will be based mostly on their personal political views, with 46% saying their decisions will based on an objective interpretation of the law. That may be one reason why six in ten Americans would like to see the Supreme Court allow televisions cameras into the courtroom when the justices hear arguments.

Will the Supreme Court's decisions on the health care law affect the general election in November? Maybe not. More than three-quarters say their vote would be unaffected if the high court strikes down all or part of the health care law, and the president might wind up gaining as much support as he would lose.

"One reason: only one in ten Americans say that health care is the most important issue facing the country today; more than half continue to name the economy as the country's top problem," adds Holland.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International Saturday and Sunday, with 1,014 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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soundoff (214 Responses)
  1. Stop spending

    This law isn't going to do anything positive for my family. In fact, our premiums JUMPED because the insurance companies are passing the additional costs of Obamacare on to policyholders – those of us "stupid" enough to pay for protection while others who don't pay just show up in the emergency room when they need help. Sounds to me like the same thing as car insurance – everyone is suppose to have it and PAY for it but many skate by ... those silly uninsured motorists that all cost us more money.

    The only advantage to those who think they will get around the law is that the IRS will be watching and coming after you... jolly, do you want that??? Maybe the bums who think they can get a free lunch will actually get caught...

    March 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Mike Weston

    Why all the complaining? This reminds me of all the discussions regarding Jim Crow laws...that was the law yet you did not see paid union hands picketing with professionally made signs saying "Protect the Law"...most of these people don't have the intellectual capacity to read or understand the various infringements upon liberty in this bill...I thing it was Pelosi who said..let it pass and then we'll see what's in it...

    March 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. lefty avenger

    To : The all potent one, The Polls represent the true nature of the country. 50% love president Obama and want universal health care and 50% love president Bush and only want their precious top 1% mega-wealthy to have care. The Bottom line is half of the country is absolutely opposed to everything the other half wants. Our united we stand credo is out the window, it's a new civil war.

    March 26, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. J.Crobuzon

    Just another reason to vote for Obama and let him take another crack at it. These Republicans are all in their nineties; how much longer can they last?

    March 26, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Tim Rigney

    And the people polled are basing this conclusion on what, now? Their extensive knowledge of all nine Justices involved, as well as their past rulings?
    Education in this country really does need to be massively reformed. Starting with having a course in Logic required for every single year in school. People are constantly making erroneous conclusions based on incomplete data, and they clearly have lost the ability to judge when they don't have enough information to make a sound conclusion.

    March 26, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Joepub

    Cry me a river Libs. Your Obamacare is a failure but you are too afraid to admit it.

    March 26, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Jon

    1. People should not just jump on a band wagon when they don't know what the health care is all about. I am sure all your parents and grandparents that are over 65 have government health care in the form of medicare and 989% of them use it. So would you rather pay for their insurance or leave medicare alone and let them have it?
    2. The Federal government has many laws that make the public pay, what about gasoline tax, what about interstate freight, I could name many, so the Supreme Court trying to overturn only the health care stating that the Federal Government cannot make citizens pay for anything will subject all these other items that the Fed makes us do even making us pay income taxes and excise taxes would be affected also.

    March 26, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. refudiator

    In related news, Romney states that his first appointment to the Supreme Court will be Bain Capital...

    March 26, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. olepi

    Since Justice Thomas and others have given speeches at partisan right-wing venues, it is obvious that they are political. Of course their decision will be political, at least partly.

    Justice Thomas in particular makes no pretense of being non-partisan.

    March 26, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Justin

    The misconception is that this is free. Nothing is free. What happens when business's just decide to not offer coverage since their payroll taxes will go up to pay for the uninsured anyways? They will stop offering it since the government pools will already provide it for everyone. Then us that are already covered will end up paying more for something that our employers were already providing for us. The only people that will have quality affordable health care will be members of the tax except union and politicians with their Cadillac plans. This is all smoke and mirrors. How will the premiums be determined? I just wish then Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the partisan democrat Congress would have read and understood the bill prior to ramming it down our throats. I am not opposed to a solution, but this one seems to only favor the uninsured with no idea on how much this will cost.

    March 26, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Oodoodanoo

    Citizens United was cynical politics. This court has no respect for the American public, and likewise the public has learned to distrust them.

    March 26, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. mike

    A democratic healthcare plan is great for a democracy, but the Supreme Court has made in clear this country is now an aristoracy. Darwinism 101. Here we go again, history repeats itsellf. The wealthy don't want you to know the most important fact. In the 1960's unemployment was the lowest in US history. The economic growth was the highest. Americans education, healthcare,finacial security was the highest in the world. The reason was, the corporate tax code. The proof is their. The higher the tax rate on corporate america the lower the unemployment rate. The lower the rate the worst off the country is. These facts are easily verifiable.

    March 26, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Davyboy

    Healthcare bill was passed by a liberal dominated congress and most of the good Americans on this site are Liberals.
    You will lose in November due to Independents who carried Obama to victory in '08 will send him back to Chicago in November. We need to quit spending money we don't have , get congress on term limits , change tax codes so everyone pays , including those who make over $1,000,000 to pay more , and get the govt. out of our lives. If we don't reduce our debt and quit spending , the country we now know will not exist in 50 years.

    March 26, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  14. Gerry Hintlian

    This law is nothing more than Communism, pure and simple. Everybody pays, some collect benefits. If this isn't Marxism I don't know what is.

    March 26, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. Jake

    I know everybody has a different opinion on this, and I'm very open minded. My personal opinion is YES on the Public Option and NO on the individual mandate...

    March 26, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Andrew

    Of course its not liberal enough. Offer a public option with the choice of being able to choose an private alternative just like schooling. I'm willing to pay taxes for something that is essentially already a cost of living.

    Public healthcare isn't bad as long as its ran right and the private alternative isn't exactly the golden goose anyways. The whole damn system is a giant cluster fubar as it is. Lets start stream lining and having some sort of regulated costs so you aren't forking over hundreds of dollars a month for health insurance.

    The reason why it costs so much is because its a massively inflated system. You break an arm without health insurance and you'll have a massive medical bill. THATS INSANE! Good luck getting out of that hole with your 10 dollar an hour job(even if you are lucky enough to land that much money).

    March 26, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. JC in Western U.S.

    50% of people dislike the law. Of those, 37% dislike it because it's too "liberal".

    So if I understand this correctly...

    18% of Americans want this law overturned because it's too liberal.

    Interesting. Because right wing conservatives keep saying that Americans hate "socialist" law and want it overturned.

    Looks to me like 5% think it's not liberal enough, 18% think it's too liberal, and 30% want a "do-over" (but we don't really know what they want to change).

    So, that means 55% of us either like it or don't think it goes far enough.

    March 26, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Marcus

    Seems to me that this site isn't quite telling it like it is. This "law" hasn't shown to be favorable with the public since the left wingers railroaded it down our throats. But if you really want the people behind it all Congress has to do is make it applicable to themselves as well. If it is so good for the rest of us why is it they will be exempt?

    March 26, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. jdoe

    Let's see: Republicans opposed the public option which is the only alternative to insurance companies, then slam Obama for "catering to the insurers". They complain about spending, yet their own proposal is about giving people taxpaying-funded vouchers to buy private insurance, without mentioning how the massive voucher system will be paid for. Talk about disconnect from reality.

    March 26, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Doug

    If they go strictly by law, some of it will be overturned.

    March 26, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. jackie, Canada

    In Canada, you are required to have health insurance. Your contribution amount, here in BC, is based on your income, and, can go down to zero if your income is low enough. I am not certain if all provinces are the same. At present, I pay $24.20 per month. I can go to my doctor, or to the hospital without cost to me. No one should ever be denied health care because they cannot afford it, but those who refuse to get health insurance should be prepared to receive a bill for the services they use. When health insurance is 'for profit', it leads to people being denied expensive treatment that they require, and all sorts of other unfair practices. The patient definitely does not come first. I believe that most people who object to President Obama's Health Care Plan, are the ones who object to anything and everything he does. I fail to understand how a policy which benefits so many can be such a negative, except to the usual 'haters'.

    March 26, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Debby

    They won't strike it down it only cost an additional 900 billion to implement.

    March 26, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Daveinil

    To highlight "Fifty percent say that the justices' decisions will be based mostly on their personal political views" (which is probably split 25% and 25%, liberal vs conservative) when the poll shows "only a quarter of the public wants to see the high court leave the measure alone" is really tabloid journalism at its worst.

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. Dale

    There is always going to be sick people this is a fact, and there is always going to be clever people and big medical corporations who do not care about sick people, the only thing they care about is how much money they can get out of sick people who are able to pay to get well.

    My hometown has a chain hospital owned by a very large medical corporation, they own hospitals all over the United States, at this medical chain hospital a simple colonoscopy costs nearly $10,000, you can go to the next city 27 miles away, their city owned hospital a colonoscopy costs little over $3000.
    Mega-corporation chain hospitals all over the United States “They Are Gouging Medical Costs”, they are one of the biggest problems causing the medical costs to skyrocket, “”this need to be dealt with by the government””.
    Research and find out ask questions who own your hospital; I bet it is a mega chain hospital gouging medical costs, “and all of that money is leaving your city and going to another”.
    These mega chain hospitals make so much money, they have congressmen and senators and governors running interference for them, covering their backs that is how they are getting away with this robbery of the American people.
    And I bet president Obama knows about this problem.

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  25. Jerry5555

    Wow, CNN is already preparing for a possible loss and are pre-emptively writing an article like this to say the Court's decision is political (and the decision hasn't even been made yet). CNN is such a joke these days. Maybe that's why it's last in ratings.

    March 26, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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