July 23rd, 2014
06:00 AM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Is Obamacare working?

Washington (CNN) - More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/ORC International survey also indicates that a majority of Americans oppose the Affordable Care Act, but that some of that opposition is from people who don't think the measure goes far enough.

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The poll, conducted this past weekend, was released on Wednesday, one day after a federal appeals court upheld Obamacare tax subsidies. That ruling came just a couple of hours after a separate appeals court struck down such subsidies for the millions of Americans enrolled in the federal government's HealthCare.gov exchange.

Appeals courts differ on Obamacare; Supreme Court case likely

According to the poll, only 18% of the public say they or their families are better off now that the major provisions of the health care law have been implemented. Another 35% report that, while their lives have not improved, the Affordable Care Act has benefited other people in the U.S. Add those two numbers together, and that means 53% say that Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country.

Forty-four percent tell us that the health care law has not helped anyone in the country.

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According to the poll, 40% of Americans say they support the health care law, basically unchanged from March but up from 35% in December, which was a record low in CNN polling. Fifty-nine percent of those questioned say they oppose the measure, down five points from December.

"Not all of the opposition to the health care law comes from the right," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Thirty-eight percent say they oppose the law because it's too liberal, but 17% say they oppose it because it's not liberal enough. That means more than half the public either favors Obamacare, or opposes it because it doesn't go far enough."

As expected, the poll indicates a continued wide partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans over the law and whether it’s working.

Political battle over Obamacare

The measure was passed into law in 2010, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. The law, considered President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement, was a major issue in 2010 and 2012, and is again in 2014, as many Republicans continue to call for Obamacare to be repealed and replaced.

While the Obamacare website suffered a disastrous rollout last autumn, things have improved. Major flaws with HealthCare.gov were addressed and major gains in enrollment were made.

But Republicans continue to keep their midterm campaign focus on the health care law. Earlier this month House Speaker John Boehner made Obamacare the focus of his lawsuit against the President.

Republicans to sue Obama over health law

The GOP obsession with the health care law may be smart politics: Midterm electorates are smaller than those of presidential elections, and the contests are often all about getting out base voters–and the GOP base continues to hate Obamacare.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International from July 18-20, with 1,012 adult Americans 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.

soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. rs


    I have a follow-up question to my earlier question. Since conservatives are in favor of letting people buy insurance across state lines, why don't we allow people in states that don't have state-established exchanges to buy insurance from out-of-state exchanges that are established by the states? That way, they can get federal subsidies because they are buying insurance from exchanges established by the states.
    A great question. The problem is insurance law as currently written and executed is that it firmly plants insurance as an industry as being limited to the borders and the laws of each and every state. To do the logical thing (that you propose), either all state insurance law would have to be codified and made uniform, so that all insurance companies met the requirements of the laws and regulations in each and every state.
    Or, somehow, insurance law would have to be made federal law. The GOP is adamantly against expanding federal powers, and at this stage are much more interested in either taking no action (after all action=work), or if they did take action it would only be to hurt the American public.
    No, this one is unfortunately a non-starter as long as there are Rightwingers in a position of power within our state and federal government.

    July 23, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Lizzie

    James_Il, replaced by common sense-law, now that would be a stretch by both parties, it would not be 2500 pages, that would be unacceptable in DC.

    July 23, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Wes

    obamacare is a disaster.

    July 23, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. Matt Mattson

    Keep shilling for Obamacare . . .

    July 23, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Partisan

    No, it is not.

    July 23, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |

    The latest federal appeals court ruling shows they have no legal authority to issue subsidies outside an exchange established by the state. Thirty-six states did not establish exchanges. It was never clearly stated in the law that the Federal government would subsidize insurance (would have been helpful to read the bill). This is hilarious. Thank GOD for red states.

    July 23, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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