A sign at an Affordable Care Act outreach event in Los Angeles, California, September 28, 2013.
Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

Public support for ‘Obamacare’ reaches new heights


The latest national polling from the Pew Research Center found Donald Trump, nearing the end of the first year of his presidency, with a woeful approval rating of just 32%. By a significant margin, no modern president has been this unpopular at this stage of their presidency.

The polling for “Obamacare,” however, looks vastly better. The Pew Research Center reported yesterday:

While the future of the Affordable Care Act is in question, the public increasingly thinks the law has had a positive impact on the country. Today, more Americans say the 2010 health care overhaul has had a mostly positive than mostly negative effect on the country (44% versus 35%), while 14% say it has not had much effect.

Overall support for the health care law also has grown since last year. Currently, 56% of the public approves of the law while 38% disapproves, according to a new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 4.

Note, Pew has been doing surveys on the ACA since 2010. The health care reform law’s popularity is now at its highest point to date.

The fact that Obamacare’s approval rating is 23 points higher than the president’s approval rating probably isn’t welcome news at the White House.

What’s more, these measurements aren’t happening in a vacuum. The open-enrollment period is currently underway, and despite Trump administration efforts to undermine the process, consumers are signing up for health care coverage at levels that have exceeded practically everyone’s expectations.

The open-enrollment period ends this week – Friday, Dec. 15 – and if opponents of the law were counting on weak demand to bolster the case for repeal, they may be disappointed.

Postscript: ACA enrollment totals last year reached about 12 million, and after Trump shrunk the enrollment window, it was widely assumed that this year’s tally wouldn’t come close. But what kind of numbers should we expect? Charles Gaba, as is his wont, has broken down the numbers in detail.

As of Wednesday of last week, the total – combining federal and state marketplaces – was around 6 million, though the figure was a projected 7.2 million by Saturday night. Between auto-renewals and folks who wait until the final days of the enrollment period, the total for the year may yet prove to be pretty impressive, White House efforts notwithstanding.