Most Americans Say The Health Law Has Not Affected Their Families: Poll

More than four years after enactment of the health law, six in 10 Americans say neither they nor their families have been affected by the sweeping measure, according to a poll released Friday.

Among those who say the law has impacted them, Republicans are much more likely to say their families have been hurt by the law (37 percent) than helped (5 percent), while Democrats are more likely to say their families have been helped (26 percent) than hurt (8 percent), according to The Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly tracking poll. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation).

The relationship between partisanship and reported impact of the law holds when controlling for other factors such as income, race/ethnicity and insurance status, the poll found.

Among those who say the law has helped them, the most common response is it allowed someone in their family to get or keep coverage. Among those who say the law has hurt them, the most common response is that their health care costs have increased.

About 3 in 10 Americans say they know someone who was able to get health insurance because of the health law, while 23 percent reported they knew someone who lost their job and 19 percent knew someone who had work hours cut due to the law.  Those saying they know someone who gained coverage are more likely to be Democrats (46 percent versus 19 percent). Republicans reported  knowing someone who lost coverage or had a job-related impact more often than Democrats (34 percent versus 15 percent).

As campaigns heat up for the November midterm elections, the poll also took a look at voters’ attitudes about the law. Fifty-one percent of registered voters are tired of hearing candidates talk about the health law and would rather focus on other issues, such as jobs, while 43 percent say it is important for candidates to continue to debate the law. Overall a majority of registered voters (52 percent) say they will consider a candidate’s position on the health law as one of many important factors in their vote. About three in 10 voters say it would be the deciding factor for their vote.

The public’s overall view of the law is unchanged compared to previous KFF surveys, with 38 percent of those surveyed holding a favorable view and 45 percent an unfavorable one. As in previous tracking polls, a majority of the public overall -– 59 percent –- including majorities of Democrats and independents, say they want their congressional representative to improve the law rather than repeal it and replace it.

The poll was conducted among 1,505 adults, including 1,279 registered voters. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points for both groups.