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After 5 Years of Obamacare - What's the Verdict?

2015 marks the five year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and the looming question is still ever present: What does the public think of the Obamacare? Over the last five years, the public’s opinion has changed. In fact, the gap between those in favor and those who are not in favor of the ACA is smaller than it’s been in over 2 years.

Recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) released a poll which sheds light on the public’s opinion on Obamacare. This article is a brief look at the findings from the poll.

Note: This article is part of our ACA series.

ACA Favorable and Unfavorable Gap Narrowest in over 2 Years

According to the KFF poll, since the passing of Obamacare in 2010 opinions have been divisive. However, in the last two years, things have changed. The poll found that as of March, 2015, 43 percent of individuals say they are unfavorable and 41 percent say they are favorable of Obamacare.

To put the current public opinion in perspective, shortly after Obamacare passed in April of 2010, KFF polled the public and found that 46 percent were in favor and 40 percent were unfavorable. However, over the last 5 years, these numbers have fluctuated a great deal.

ACA_public_opinion

Chart Source - KFF

Favorable Votes Say Obamacare Expands Access to Healthcare

While the public is nearly split on whether or not they support Obamacare, 61 percent of those in favor of the law say it is because it expands access to healthcare and health insurance. Ten percent say that it will make healthcare more affordable, and seven percent say Americans and the country will be better off in general with Obamacare.

As for those with an unfavorable view towards Obamacare, the most common response (26 percent) was that health insurance and healthcare costs are increasing and the law costs too much. Eighteen percent say they were opposed to the individual mandate, and 10 percent say the government is overreaching.

ACA_public_opinion_reasons

Chart Source - KFF

57 Percent Say Obamacare Has Had No Impact on Them

Although 57 percent of the public say that Obamacare has had no direct impact on them and their family, those who say it has helped or hurt them are nearly equal. Nineteen percent of the public say Obamacare has helped them and 22 percent say it has hurt them.

It’s also noteworthy that the poll found Republicans are more likely to say they have been hurt by Obamacare (40 percent) than helped by it (8 percent). Democrats are more likely to say they have been helped (27 percent) and eight percent say it has hurt them.

ACA public opion impact on public

Chart Source - KFF

Obamacare and Tax Season - Who’s Aware of the Requirements?

This April is the first tax season when Americans are required to report their health insurance status on their tax return. According to the KFF poll, 53 percent of the public are aware this requirement takes effect this year as they file 2015 taxes. Additionally, 55 percent know that when someone gets financial help from the government to pay for health insurance premiums, it is possible that they will owe money if their income or family size changes during the year.

Three out of ten individuals incorrectly state that the requirement doesn’t take effect his year and twenty percent say it’s next year, last year (11 percent), or some other year (one percent). Sixteen percent say they don’t know.

6 in 10 of Uninsured Have Been Without Coverage for 2 Years

With the second open enrollment period under the health care law coming to a close, 46 percent say they don’t feel they have enough information to understand how the healthcare law will impact them or their family. Sixty-two percent (six in 10) of the uninsured say they have actually been without coverage for at least two years. Fifty-nine percent say they expect to have to pay a fine for not having coverage in 2014.

Conclusion

Kaiser Family Foundation’s poll of the public’s opinion on Obamacare concluded that, after five years since it’s introduction, the gap between those who do and do not support it is decreasing. The poll also found that over half of Americans say Obamacare has had no impact on them, most of the public is aware they must report their health insurance status for the 2014 tax season, and many individuals are still willingly going without health insurance coverage.

What do you think of Obamacare and how has it impacted you - negatively or positively? Comment below.

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Poll source: KFF