Health Law Daily Finally, Americans agree: health care got off on the wrong track
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Finally, Americans agree: health care got off on the wrong track

The number of Americans (48 percent) who view the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) in a favorable, versus an unfavorable (42 percent), light is at its highest percentage since the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) began tracking public views on the ACA in 2010. This does not mean that splits don’t exist along party lines, however, nor is the difference in favorable versus unfavorable views drastic. However, Americans tend to agree on one thing: 62 percent believe health care has "gotten off on the wrong track," compared to only 30 percent who believe it is "headed in the right direction."

KFF attributes the increased percentage in favorable views to increased favorable views among independents (50 percent favorable compared to 39 percent unfavorable). Republicans and Democrats remain entrenched in party views, with 74 percent of Republicans viewing the law unfavorably (74 percent) and an almost equal percentage of Democrats (73) viewing the law favorably. The increased percentage of more favorable views does not seem to have significantly affected opinions as to whether Congress should (47 percent) or should not (48 percent) repeal the law. More Americans believe that Congress should wait to repeal the law until a replacement plan is in place than believe that Congress should repeal now and replace later; among Republicans, the percentages are 48 and 31, respectively. Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans worry that they or a family member will lose insurance upon repeal and replacement.

Despite debates about Medicaid expansion, 84 percent of Americans believe states that received federal funds to expand Medicaid should continue to receive those funds, including 95 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Independents, and even 69 percent of Republicans. Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that the existing program structure is preferable to the potential imposition of per-capita caps, which would cap federal funding per enrollee, or type of enrollee (e.g. child, adult, elderly, disabled) to be used for all services, while 31 percent prefer the per-capita caps. Sixty-three percent of Americans prefer the existing structure to potential block grants, which would provide states with pre-set federal funding to be used to cover all individuals and services, regardless of specific enrollment needs; 32 percent prefer block grants.

When gathering information about changes to the health care system, more Americans trust their Congressional representatives (55 percent), local news organizations (53 percent), national news organizations (51 percent), and friends and family (51 percent), than trust President Trump (42 percent) or social networking sites (16 percent).

Companies: Kaiser Family Foundation

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