Two-to-One: Americans Surveyed by RMU Would Have Preferred A Bipartisan Effort on ObamaCare

Updated on November 14, 2013

More than half of Americans surveyed by Robert Morris University would have preferred that the Affordable Care Act – aka ObamaCare – be passed into law with bipartisan support. The survey of 1,003 adults was conducted by the RMU Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media.

Sixty percent of those who responded said they do not anticipate having to get a new doctor or specialist as a result of the law, and more than half (53.3 percent) do not expect that they will have to change health insurance plans.

“Considering the Affordable Care Act is a market-based reform with key elements like the individual mandate taken directly from conservative proposals developed two decades ago, I think the majority of respondents wishing there had been more bipartisanship in the process may reflect dissatisfaction with how the polarized debate played out in the media during the law’s passage,” said Joseph Angelelli, director of the Health Services Administration program at Robert Morris University.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted with only Democratic votes in both the U.S. House and Senate, unlike other landmark legislation such as Social Security and more recent examples including No Child Left Behind. By more than a two-to-one margin, (57.7 percent to 25.9 percent) respondents would have preferred both political parties kept at it until there was bipartisan support. Some, 16.3 percent, were unsure. Among those with an opinion, the margin grows to 69 percent to 31 percent who favor a bipartisan effort as opposed to the unilateral effort.

Nearly half of all survey respondents, 49.2 percent, held a somewhat or very unfavorable opinion of the Act while 36.3 percent suggested they held a very or somewhat favorable opinion. Some, 14.4 percent, were unsure. When “don’t know” respondents are removed from the data, 57.6 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of the law while 42.5 percent hold a favorable view.

“Given that a majority of respondents report still not understanding the law well, clearly there’s more work to be done by all in the implementation phase,” said Angelelli.

In results that are nearly four-to-one, respondents expect their out-of-pocket costs (for such costs as co-pays and deductibles) to increase (43 percent) rather than decrease (9.3 percent) – as a result of the ACA. Some indicated they expect no impact on their out-of-pocket costs or were unsure – 28.1 percent and 19.6 percent respectively.

Large numbers of Americans surveyed:

· Have or know someone who has experienced reduced hours on the job so employers can avoid paying health insurance due to the new law (38.6%);

· Have or expect to become much more involved in their own health care insurance because of the new law (49.2%);

· Have or expect to have to shop around for less expensive health care because of the new law (33.8%);

ABOUT THE POLL: The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

METHODOLOGY: The Poll sampled opinions of 1,003 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted October 23 – November 1, 2013. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.


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