Fifty-five percent of Americans now support the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a major turnaround from five months ago when 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved, according to a new Gallup poll. This is the first time a majority of Americans have approved of the health care law, also known as Obamacare, since Gallup first asked about it in this format in November 2012.
Since the ACA’s passage, the law has been a significant political issue in each of the past four national elections. Republicans’ opposition to the ACA helped them win control of the House in 2010, control of the Senate in 2014 and the presidency last year.
However, Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the health care law foundered last month, as House leaders’ replacement bill ran into stiff opposition within the party.
Republicans, Democrats and independents are all more likely to approve of the ACA now than in November, a few days after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election left Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches. Independents have led the way in this shift toward approval, increasing by 17 percentage points compared with 10-point changes for both Republicans and Democrats.
Although the ACA never garnered majority support in Gallup polling before this month, nearly half of Americans (48 percent) approved of it the first time the current version of the question was asked in November 2012. In response to a previous version of the question that asked whether Americans thought passing the health care law was a good thing or a bad thing, 49 percent said it was a good thing when the question was first asked in early 2010. However, support was a few percentage points lower each of the next two times it was asked.
Though a majority of Americans now approve of the ACA, only about one in four (26 percent) want to keep it largely as it is. Forty percent want to keep the law in place but make significant changes, while 30 percent want to repeal and replace it.
What Americans want Congress to do next regarding health care hinges on their views of the ACA:
- Twenty-six percent want to keep the law in place largely as it is.
- The 40 percent who want to keep the law but make significant changes are evenly split: 49 percent want Congress to continue to work on healthcare in the next few months, while 49 percent would like to see Congress turn its attention to other issues for the time being.
- Among the 30 percent who want the ACA repealed and replaced, most (64 percent) say Congress should continue to work on health care. Another 32 percent say Congress should turn to other issues.
The Gallup poll was based on phone interviews with 1,023 US adults in all 50 states and was conducted April 1-2. Its margin of error is plus or minus 4 points.