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KFF Data Note: A Snapshot of Public Opinion on the Individual Mandate

This week, the Supreme Court hears arguments on several challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the provision that requires individuals to purchase health insurance as of 2014, known as the individual mandate. For the two years since the law’s passage, and during the debate leading up to it, this provision has been one of the most controversial aspects of the law. As the lawyers, policymakers, ACA opponents and supporters focus intently on the hearings, this Data Note looks at what the general public thinks of the mandate, explores the reasons why, and suggests that while opinion on the mandate has been fairly consistent over time, it also remains malleable, and basic factual information and messages can sway Americans’ opinion.