Americans no longer believe that the government needs to make sure everyone has health insurance, a guiding principle of Obamacare — and the sentiment is even more pronounced among likely voters, a study of numerous surveys on the issue taken between 2010 and last month show.
Only 47 percent of those surveyed recently support the notion of universal coverage provided by the federal government, down from 69 percent in 2006, according to an analysis of 27 public opinion polls by 14 organizations.
The results of the analysis was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The report sought to analyze Obamacare's role in this fall's congressional elections.
But among those who identified themselves as likely to vote next Tuesday, 56 percent said they do not believe that the government should be requiring all Americans to have health coverage.
And among those likely voters, polarization is high based on party affiliation, the analysis found. Democrats overwhelmingly support Obamacare, whereas Republicans oppose it.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has long been a target for Republicans since President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010.
Considered the president's signature domestic achievement, the healthcare law has been plagued with problems — and Americans have seen decreased coverage, skyrocketing premiums, and reduced work hours as employers seek to control their health costs.
HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare website that covers 36 states, has faced numerous delays and technological glitches, and Obama himself has postponed mandates affecting various groups of employers and Americans.
According to The Journal's analysis, public opposition to Obamacare has only increased since it became law.
In 2010, surveys showed that 45 percent of Americans opposed the healthcare law. Four years later, 51 percent do not like it.
That sentiment corresponded with views on Obama's effectiveness in handling the healthcare issue, the analysis found.
Fifty-two percent of Americans disapproved of the way President Obama addressed health care in 2010. The number grew to 57 percent in 2014.
"Americans are more divided over the impact of the ACA on the country as a whole," the analysis noted. Forty-five percent "believe that the law has had a mostly negative effect on the country to date, whereas 33 percent think it has had a mostly positive effect, and 18 percent do not think it has had much of an effect."
The Journal's analysis also included data from a Kantar Media study
showing that groups opposing Obamacare have spent $418 million on 880,000 negative ads between 2010 and this past May. That compared with only $27 million spent on positive Obamacare spots.
"Moreover, the large volume of advertisements against the ACA has continued throughout the campaign season, with 37,544 anti-ACA ads between Aug. 1 and Sept. 11" of this year, the analysis noted.
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