AP poll finds Americans evenly divided on impact, benefits of health-reform law

WASHINGTON Seven months after President Obama signed the massive health-reform bill into law, Americans remain deeply divided over the controversial overhaul and its potential benefits, a new poll from the Associated Press and the GfK Group revealed.

 

In a mid-October survey of 1,501 adults, AP-Gfk found the nation evenly split over whether the law should be overturned or made even stronger. But also significant is the fact that only 15% of Americans would leave the health-reform law — thus far the key legislative accomplishment of the Obama administration — as it currently stands.

 

 

Among the 846 poll respondents who said they likely would vote in the November congressional elections, 37% said the law should be completely repealed, according to AP. Not surprisingly, opposition among Tea Party supporters was strongest, with more than 70% of respondents who describe themselves as Tea Party enthusiasts saying they would scrap health reform.

 

 

Despite the opposition, 36% of those polled had a very different view, telling surveyors “they want to revise the law so it does more to change the healthcare system,” the news service reported Friday. That means “Tea Party enthusiasm for repeal has failed to catch on with other groups,” according to AP, “which may be a problem for Republicans vowing to strike down Obama's signature accomplishment if they gain control of Congress in the Nov. 2 elections.”

 

 

Among the top concerns about the new law expressed by survey respondents: a requirement that most Americans carry some type of public or private health insurance, beginning in 2014. Some told researchers the law does little to address rising health spending.

 

Older Americans also expressed concern over the plan to help fund the health overhaul in part by cutting spending for Medicare. Some poll respondents also asserted the need for a public-health plan option to compete with private insurers and to help hold down costs, a plan that was eliminated from the original bill before its passage in Congress.

 

Support for health reform is strongest among women and younger voters, according to AP.