New findings from the Reason-Rupe poll demonstrate weak support of the new health care law, which is likely driven by opposition to the individual mandate. However, other provisions in the law do enjoymajority support.
For instance, 52 percent favor the community rating provision, which prohibits health insurance companies from charging some customers higher premiums based on medical history or pre-existing conditions. However, when potential cuts to quality are considered, support flips and 76 percent oppose the provision.
The Reason-Rupe poll sought to provide realistic potential costs associated with the community rating provision to understand what costs Americans might be willing to accept in exchange for community rating.
Although a majority of Americans favor a community rating provision, support drops to 41 percent if increased wait times result, 38 percent if increased premiums result, and 37 percent if increased taxes result. Most strikingly though, opposition skyrockets to 76 percent if decreased health care quality results from the community rating provision.
Among those who favor the community rating provision, a majority continue to favor it if increased wait times result, 47 percent continue to favor if increased taxes result, and 46 percent continue to favor if increased premiums result. However, opposition also soars to 76 percent if decreased health care quality results from the community rating provision.
Polls typically ask about explicit provisions in the new health care law, such as the individual mandate, the employer mandate, community rating, guaranteed issue, and the medical loss ratio. However, they often fail to provide realistic potential costs associated with these provisions. This is essentially asking a person if they want a benefit without suggesting there is any associated cost.
When potential unintended costs are considered, favorability toward the Affordable Care Act's provisions becomes more nuanced. These data suggest community rating's benefits are popular when considered in isolation of costs. However, support declines when increased wait times to see a physician, increased premiums, increased taxes, or decreased health care quality are considered.
Full poll results found here.
Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 10th-20th of both mobile and landline phones, 1200 adults, margin of error +/- 3 percent. Columns may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding. Full methodology can be found here.
Emily Ekins is the director of polling for Reason Foundation where she leads the Reason-Rupe public opinion research project, launched in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @emilyekins.