With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear arguments Nov. 10 in a case that could dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a survey finds that a majority of U.S. adults (58%) do not want the court to overturn the entire law.
A Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found 79% of adults want the Supreme Court to keep the ACA's protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Of those who want pre-existing conditions protected, 91% are Democrats, 81% are independents and 66% are Republicans. Nine in ten Democrats (89%) and two-thirds of independents (66%) also said they do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the entire law while three-fourths of Republicans (76%) said they would like to see the entire law overturned.
The share of those who want to see pre-existing conditions protected increased 17 percentage points since November 2019, Kaiser reported. The ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions has been a dominant issue in the 2020 presidential campaign since the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
A Majority Of Republicans
A majority of Republicans now say they do not want to see the pre-existing condition protections overturned (up 19 points from last year). Although majorities of Democrats and independents had previously said they did not want to see these protections overturned, the share among these groups has also increased (16 percentage points and 18 points, respectively).
There is also a slight increase in the share who said they do not want to see the ACA overturned. The most recent poll showed the share of those who want the law preserved is up 10 percentage points from November 2019 and five percentage points from July of this year.
A larger share of Democrats and independents now say they do not want to see the law overturned, compared to a year ago (up 13 percentage points and 16 points, respectively), while the share of Republicans who want to see the entire law overturned has remained relatively steady (71% in November 2019 to 76% in the latest poll).
Both presidential candidates said they intend to ensure pre-existing condition protections. But most Democrats and independents said they do not think President Donald Trump has a plan to maintain such protections. Slightly more than half (53%) said they “do not think President Trump has a plan to maintain protections for people with pre-existing health conditions.” On the other hand, a large majority of Republicans (85%) said Trump “has a plan” to maintain these protections.
About half of adults said they are worried they or someone in their family will not be able to afford health coverage (54%) or will lose coverage (51%) if the Supreme Court overturns the entire health care law. At least seven in 10 Democrats said they worry about not being able to afford coverage (76%) or losing coverage (71%) as do at least half of independents (58% and 53%, respectively).
A smaller share of Republicans expressed similar worries, with about one-fourth saying they are worried about not being able to afford coverage (23%) or losing coverage (23%) if the entire ACA is overturned.
A majority of the public (55%) now has a favorable view towards the law (up slightly from 49% in September). This matches the ACA’s highest point in favorability first measured back in February 2020, before the COVID-19 outbreak largely impacted the U.S. While a majority of the public view the law favorably, four in ten (39%) continue to view law unfavorably including eight in ten Republicans (79%), as well as about one-third of independents (35%) and one in 10 Democrats (9%).
As Election Day draws closer, nearly all voters (94%) say protections for people with pre-existing conditions will be important to their vote, including three-fourths (74%) who say it is “very important.”
About six in 10 voters also say lowering the cost of health care for individuals (63%), determining the future of Medicare (62%), dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak (60%), determining the future of reproductive health issues including abortion (60%) and lowering prescription drug costs (59%) are “very important” in deciding their vote for president this year.
When asked to choose the most important health care issue among this list of possible issues, nearly one in five voters (17%) say protections for people with pre-existing conditions is the most important health care issue in making their decision about who to vote for president. This was followed closely by the future of reproductive health issues including abortion (15%), and lowering the cost of health care (13%).
At least half of voters said they think Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has the better approach to handling a series of health care issues asked about in the poll. Biden has at least a 20 percentage point advantage among voters on who they think has the better approach (Biden or Trump) to making decisions about women’s reproductive health choices and services, including abortion, family planning, and contraception (57% v. 34%), determining the future of the ACA (57% v. 37%), and maintaining protections for people with pre-existing health conditions (56% v. 36%).
He also holds an advantage on several other health care policy issues including protecting people from surprise medical bills (52% v. 37%), dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak (55% v. 39%), and lowering the cost of health care for individuals (54% v. 40%). Biden also does better on his approach to overseeing the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine (51% v. 42%) and lowering prescription drug costs (50% v. 43%).