By Kathryn Mayer
Negative public opinion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has abruptly hit an all-time high, ending months of continued support and gradual increases in positive opinion of the law.
The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, out Friday, found that 53 percent now have an unfavorable view of PPACA, up eight percentage points from June.
Just 37 percent expressed a positive view of the law in July, down two points from June. Support for PPACA was at its peak when it was first signed into law in March 2010; it was then at 50 percent.
Negative opinion of the law most recently peaked in October and January at 50 percent, amid the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov.
The increase of negative perceptions appears to come from respondents who were previously undecided about the law. The share of the public who offered no opinion about PPACA fell to 11 percent in July, down from 16 percent in June, according to Kaiser.
“The uptick in negative views comes at a time when Americans report hearing more negative than positive things about the ACA in advertising and personal conversations, and when large shares of the public want leaders in Washington to pay more attention to other issues like the economy and jobs, the federal budget deficit, education, and immigration,” the report said.
The controversial law has made headlines again recently with the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision and the two contradictory rulings on the legality of subsidies for coverage purchased on federal exchanges under the law. And just this week, House Republicans voted to sue President Obama over his delay of PPACA's employer mandate.
The Kaiser poll also found that the public is evenly split on the Supreme Court’s decision that closely-held corporations can cite religious objections to avoid paying for contraceptive coverage as required under PPACA, with 47 percent approving of the Hobby Lobby ruling and 49 percent disapproving. Slightly more women disagree with the decision than agree.
Overall, the poll found that, still, the majority of the public would rather see PPACA improved rather than repealed or replaced.
Additionally, the poll showed that unawareness and confusion still continues to plague the law. For example, about one-quarter of Americans believe that people who got new health insurance under PPACA enrolled in a single government health plan, while 37 percent of the public and 29 percent of the uninsured are aware that people had a choice between private health plans. Thirty-eight percent say they don’t know enough to answer the question.
Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed roughly 1,500 adults.
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