Just 5 years ago Gallup found only 28 percent of Americans thought government did not have the responsibility to “make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage.” However, today Gallup finds the highest number since it began asking the question—56 percent—say government does not have a responsibility to ensure all American have healthcare coverage. Even a majority (55 percent) of Independents say government does not have this responsibility.
Throughout much of the 2000s, a solid majority of Americans believed it was government’s job to ensure all Americans have healthcare coverage, hitting a high in 2006 when 69 percent agreed while 28 percent said it was not government’s responsibility. However, after 2006, Gallup measured a steady decline among those who believed government should ensure healthcare for all.
By the time Congress began debating remaking the American health care system in 2009, Americans were evenly split and remained so until 2011.
However, once actual implementation of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare got underway, the public for the first time since Gallup began asking the question diverged against government’s role in health care. Between 2011 and 2013 the share of Americans who believe it is not government’s job to ensure healthcare coverage increased +10 points from 46 to 56 percent.
Not only the glitch-ridden roll out of the healthcare law explains this results, but partisanship also. In 2000, only a slim majority (53 percent) of Republicans believed government should not be responsible for healthcare coverage and 42 percent believe it did. Just 13 short years later, while also losing most of Congress and the presidency, 86 percent of Republicans say its not government job to ensure healthcare coverage and 12 percent say it is. These are roughly 30-point swings in roughly a decade.