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December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Public Again Divided on ACA, Independents Polarized, and Exchanges Widely Popular

According to the December Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, the October downturn in the share of Americans with a favorable view of the health reform law has been fully reversed in December and overall opinion on the law returned to the roughly even split seen for most of 2011. Forty-three percent of Americans expressed unfavorable views of the law in December, while 41 percent had favorable views. Partisan divisions persist and the findings suggest not only that opinions of the law are polarized along partisan lines, but also that views are similarly hardened and polarized among many independents. Among independents who say they “lean Democratic,” for instance, a majority (59 percent) favor the law. At the same time, among those who “lean Republican,” 78 percent oppose the law. And among that narrow sliver of the public (18 percent) that reports not having an inclination toward one party or the other, support for the ACA is at 29 percent while opposition is at 47 percent.

The concept of state-based health insurance exchanges, a key element of the health reform law, has wide, bipartisan support. As many states prepare to set up such exchanges and others hold off in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling on health reform next year, about eight in ten Americans say they have a favorable view of the creation of “health insurance exchanges or marketplaces”. The provision is backed by 92 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents and a solid majority (62 percent) of Republicans.

Bipartisan Support for Concept of  Health Insurance Exchanges