Ryan Witt hangs a sign outside offering assistance signing up for health insurance in St. Louis, March 31, 2014.
Photo by Jeff Roberson/AP

Most Americans want Obamacare to stay, but tweaked: poll


They may not love all of it, but most Americans want the president’s signature health reform policy to stay.

A significant majority (61%) of Americans want the Affordable Care Act kept as-is or improved with changes, while a little more than a third (38%) want the law fully repealed or replaced, according to new polling released Sunday. 

A little less than half (49%) of all respondents said “make some changes” when asked what they thought Congress should do with respect to the law, according to the CNN/ORC poll. Another 12% want the law kept in place in its exact form. Among those supporting repeal, 18% said they wanted to repeal and replace the health reform law with a new law, and 20% said it should just be repealed.

“I’ve said many times, I am willing to work with anyone on any idea to make this law perform even better.”
President Barack Obama

Even Republicans are more likely to say they want to see the law “changed” than repealed. Although a tiny 2% of Republicans said the law should be kept as-is, the most popular answer was “make some changes” at 36%, with 33% saying repeal it entirely and 29% supporting repeal and replace. Only 10% of Democrats support any version of repeal, but 63% support making changes to the law, while 26% want it kept as-is. 

Independent voters show a slightly more repeal-friendly breakdown, with 55% supporting a law in its original or improved form, and 45% supporting repeal either with or without replacement. 

Broken down across age groups, younger adults (ages 18-34) are most likely to support making minor changes to the law (50%). Seniors, many of whom already received health coverage from Medicare, are more likely than any other demographic to support a full repeal of the law with no replacement, at 25%.

Across racial groups, nonwhites are more likely than whites to want the law kept as is or improved, 79% to 53%. While whites are slightly more likely than nonwhites to support repeal or repeal with replacement, 46% to 21%. 

Recent polling from Gallup found African-American and Latino Americans saw more significant decreases in the uninsured rate since the law’s health exchange open enrollment period began. 

President Obama has indicated publicly he’s open to working with Congress to make adjustments to the law. “I’ve said many times, I am willing to work with anyone on any idea to make this law perform even better,” he said at an October event discussing the shaky rollout of the health exchange website. “But it’s time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hardworking middle-class families are rooting for its success.”

The poll also finds a slight increase in the overall number of Americans who see the law as a success – a four-point jump since November 2013 from 8% to 12%. But overall the percent that see it as a failure – 39% – remains unchanged. The most popular response to this question continues “to be too soon to tell” with 49%, down from 53% in November 2013. 

A slight majority of Americans remain optimistic that the current problems facing the law will be solved, with 51% saying they will be and 47% saying they won’t.