Bench Memos

Obamacare Still Unpopular

It has been nearly two years since Obamacare passed. Three days after the law’s second anniversary, the Supreme Court will begin oral arguments on the constitutionality of key provisions of the law. Apparently the White House is coordinating some public relations stunts around the time of the oral arguments to promote the idea that there is broad public support for Obamacare. But no matter how many rallies the White House sets up (call them government-mandated rallies?) public-opinion surveys have consistently shown that the people of the United States oppose the dangerous and unprecedented power grab. Here are some facts and figures to keep in mind as you watch the news coverage:

  • AP-GfK Poll, March 8, 2012: “The poll found that 35 percent of Americans support the health care law overhaul, while 47 percent oppose it. That’s about the same split as when it passed. Then, 39 percent supported it and 50 percent opposed it.” — Jennifer Agiesta and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press

  • USA Today/Gallup Poll, February 27, 2012: Americans overwhelmingly believe the “individual mandate,” as it is often called, is unconstitutional, by a margin of 72 percent to 20 percent. Seventy-two percent of American adults and 56 percent of self-professed Democrats say that the provision in the health-care law signed by President Barack Obama that requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a fine is unconstitutional.

  • Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, January 2012:: “54 percent of Americans say the Court should rule the individual mandate unconstitutional, while just 17 percent say they think it should be found constitutional. Roughly mirroring public views on the mandate, 55 percent of the public say they expect the Justices to find the mandate unconstitutional and 29 percent expect the Justices to find it constitutional.”

  • Harris Interactive, January 30, 2012: “But the most controversial aspect of the law — the so-called individual mandate that requires all adults to have health insurance or face a fine — remains widely unpopular, with only 19 percent of those polled supporting it, regardless of political party affiliation.”

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce, January 19, 2012: “A new poll from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reveals an increasingly frustrated small business community worried about the impact President Obama’s health care law may have on their bottom line. Nearly three-quarters, or 74 percent, say the new law is causing an impediment to job creation.” – Shannon Bream,

  • Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, December 2011: “In late December, a survey of 501 physicians was released by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions research group, whose parent company serves clients in the health care industry. Nearly half (48%) expected health reform to hurt their incomes this year, while 73% said it would not reduce costs. . . . 83% of doctors said one likely change to the medical system as a result of the law would be increased wait times — an inevitable outcome of insuring millions more patients without a matching increase in the number of doctors.” – Marc Siegel, USA Today

  • AP-GfK Poll, December 16, 2011: “The poll found unpopularity for last year’s health care reform bill, one of Obama’s major accomplishments. About half of the respondents oppose the health care law and support for it dipped to 29 percent from 36 percent in June. Just 15 percent said the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance.  Even among Democrats, the health care law has tepid support.  Fifty percent of Democrats supported the health care law, compared with 59 percent of Democrats last June. Only about a quarter of independents back the law.”


The Latest