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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: July 2012

July’s second Health Tracking Poll reports in further depth on public opinion toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the wake of last month’s key Supreme Court decision. When it comes to the individual mandate, the Court’s verdict that the controversial provision is constitutional as a tax appears to have had little impact on opinion, with upwards of six in ten viewing the mandate unfavorably whether it is described as “tax” or as a “fine.” There is confusion over who will be subject to the tax penalty under the mandate: the poll finds that one in five Americans believe they will have to pay a penalty in 2014, even as experts suggest the share will be considerably smaller.

The ACA’s Medicaid expansion is supported by two in three Americans. But the Court’s decision giving states the option to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid has created a new arena for ACA controversy and partisan disagreement. The poll finds that 49 percent of people support expanding Medicaid in their own state while 43 percent say they prefer to keep their state’s status quo. As with most ACA‐related controversies, the public splits sharply along partisan lines on whether their state should undertake the expansion, with 75 percent of Democrats favoring it and 66 percent of Republicans opposed.

Opinion on the ACA remains steady this month, continuing a year of a roughly even divide, even as just over four in ten Americans say they could still change their minds on the law and a slightly larger share than last month say they would back the law’s repeal. The poll also finds evidence of issue fatigue when it comes to health reform. Just over half of Americans are “tired of hearing lawmakers debate the health care law and would like for them to move on to other issues,” while 44 percent say it is important to continue the debate over the law’s future.

The July poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team.

Findings (.pdf)

Chartpack (.pdf)

Toplines (.pdf)