Public opinion shifts about the ACA
There’s a growing appreciation of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) effects, even as the overall approval of the law itself remains stubbornly divided, according to a new study, being released as a Web First by Health Affairs, and in the May issue of Health Affairs.
The study compared public opinion about the ACA between 2010 and 2014 and found a significant increase in appreciation for the tangible effects of the law in widening access to health insurance.
“The ACA benefits are increasingly appreciated by Americans and is contributing to stronger perceptions of its impact in widening impact,” study author Lawrence R. Jacobs, tells Managed Healthcare Executive.
To compile their study data, Jacobs and the other study author Suzanne Mettler, tracked respondents’ responses through three waves of a panel study conducted in the fall of 2010, 2012, and 2014. Fifty-five percent (660 out of 1,200 panelists) responded to all three waves.
The proportion of Americans who believed that reform had little or no impact on access to health insurance or medical care diminished by 18 percentage points from 2010 to 2014, while those who considered reform to have some or a great impact increased by 19 percentage points, according to the study.
The study also found a statistically significant softening of opposition among those who held unfavorable views in 2010. According to the authors, while the ACA’s concrete effects are increasingly recognized (even by Republicans), the toxic political environment continues to split overall evaluations of the law itself.
“The implication for MCOs is that rising enrollment is coinciding with stronger appreciation of marketplaces and Medicaid programs,” says Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota.