Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

On Health Care, Obama Says "We're Not Going Back" But 55% of Americans Prefer Old System


While President Obama recently said, "We're not going back" on health care reform, given the choice, a majority of Americans say they would prefer to go back to the pre-2010 health care system.

The December Reason-Rupe poll finds that 55 percent of Americans would choose the health care system that was in place before the Affordable Care Act was passed, while 34 percent prefer the new health care system designed by the 2010 federal health care law.

Predictably, a hefty majority of Republicans, 78 percent, favor the old health care system, while 53 percent of Democrats prefer the Affordable Care Act. A third of Democrats, 33 percent, would actually prefer the pre-2010 health care system. Independents side with Republicans with 59 percent who favor the prior health care system, while 31 percent the new system.

Support for the new health care system increases with education: only 28 percent of those with high school degrees or less favor the new health care system compared to 42 percent of those with post-graduate degrees. Although educational attainments is correlated with preference for the new system, income is not.

Even majorities of some of the cohorts the Affordable Care Act was designed to help would prefer to go back to the old health care system. Among those who do not have any form of health insurance, 54 percent prefer the pre-2010 health care system.  Slim majorities of lower income Americans also favor the prior system. Fifty-one percent prefer the old system among those making less than $45,000 a year and 37% favor the new system. 

While younger Americans are evenly divided, attitudes diverge between older and younger millennials. A majority (55 percent) of older millennials (25-34 year olds) prefer the previous health care system, 39 percent prefer the new system. In contrast, young millennials 18-24 are evenly divided 44 to 45 percent.

Hispanics are divided with slightly more (49%) who say they prefer the prior health care system over the ACA system (40 percent). Similarly, African-Americans are also divided but slightly more (49%) prefer the new system over the previous one (40 percent). Only 28 percent of white Americans favor the new system, while 62 percent favor the previous system.

Among the 34 percent who favor the Affordable Care Act system, majorities oppose some of the key components of the law that has defined the system: a little more than half of these respondents oppose requiring younger people pay more for health insurance to expand coverage to the uninsured and subsidize the costs of older less healthy people and those with preexisting conditions.  Americans who favor the new system are evenly divided over whether asking younger people pay more for health care is justified if it expands coverage for everyone, for instance to include mental health care and maternity care. A slim majority (52 percent) also feels low-cost, low-coverage health insurance policies should be allowed, while 43 percent say they should be prohibited.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed 1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

NEXT: Obamacare Launch Eroding Faith in Government as Problem Solver: Reason-Rupe Poll December 2013

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. 55%?

    Clearly a mandate!

  2. Most people in the country were happy with their health insurance and their doctor under the old system. If they had not been, the Dems wouldn’t have had to lie to get Obamacare passed.

    1. Yes, but our masters and betters were not happy not being able to fuck up another huge portion of our lives. Isn’t that what’s really important?

      1. They needed a legacy. And they wanted to be a part of history.

        1. Well they certainly were successful on that count.

          1. I just don’t think it’s the part of history that they wanted. Which is perfect. Enjoy your “legacy”, scumbags!

        2. The history that they deserve to be part of, would be reminiscent of Bastille Day.

    2. It was for our own good. People didn’t realize what shitty plans they had. They will be happy they were replaced with more expensive ones.

      1. Don’t forget to throw in the extra goodies, like sky high deductibles and less choice of providers and doctors.

        See, this is why team Obama has not hired you to be the new Minister of Good Splainin to the Sheeples.

  3. 55% of poll respondents just want old and sick people to die quickly!!1!ONE!

  4. The peasants are revolting.

    1. You said it. They stink on ice.

      1. Much, much, much better song.

        1. Never heard of them. To me they sound like what Black Flag may have sounded like if they practiced their instruments.

  5. Arrgh, I hate this sort of over-simplified, false choice. I want option #3: a series of free-market-oriented reforms aimed at lowering the costs of health care, which will automatically improve access. If Republicans and/or libertarians could craft a convincing, easy-to-understand set of proposals a la the 1994 Contract With America, we could take the country a big step in the direction of freedom in 2014 and 2016. Why someone hasn’t put something like that together already is beyond me.

    1. The Democrats have made it pretty easy for them.

      1. Get rid of the individual mandate and the penaltax

      2. Get rid of the “mandated coverages”

      3. Increase the availability of HSA allowing people to pay for their own health care with pretax income.

      4. End community rating and go back to letting people be excluded for pre-existing conditions.

      Those things alone would help a lot and not require doing anything radical except repeal this idiocy.

      1. Repeal? Do you know how much hard work and good intentions went into writing all those rules? You want to waste all that hard work and insult all those good intentions? You hateful little shit! These are good people with good intentions working hard to help people! You’re nothing but a right wing hate monger! Hater! Hater!

        1. John clearly wants the less fortunate to die in the street. IN THE STREET!

        2. To the Democrats up for re-election, every single one of whom effectively cast the deciding vote for Obamacare, I bet repeal is looking better every day.

          You watch, the Democrats themselves are going to turn on this thing.

          1. You watch, the Democrats themselves are going to turn on this thing.

            I’m not holding my breath. 98% of incumbents will win, just like always, because it’s your Congressmen who are the problem, not mine.

            1. 98% of incumbents will win

              Like in 2010? I don’t think it was that high in 2012.

          2. And it won’t matter. 2014 is going to be a reply of the elections 20 years earlier. Team Blue is going to be massacred. That would make me happy, except they’ll be replaced by Team Red.

            1. Team blue is going to be massacred. And the larger problem is going to be that the only way they will get back into the good graces of the voters is to turn on the first black President, something most of the moon bat base are emotionally incapable of doing.

              The resulting tears, anger and butt hurt is going to be delicious.

            2. Let’s kick out the people who created Obamacare and replace them with the people go created Part D! What could possibly go wrong?

              1. and that’s just it. Team Red’s alleged budgetary genius has worked out something that scales back the sequesterasaurus. There may be some upside in having Team Stupid win out over Team Evil but it’s not much of one.

    2. If Republicans and/or libertarians

      Without us, the Republicans are just the team red statists, same as the blue team statists.

      Only libertarians can save this country, we are all that remains between liberty and tyranny. Either we win, or our children and grandchildren are going to have a future that I wouldn’t want to live in.

      1. It was a good run, those past couple hundred years of liberty, but it’s over. Humanity is returning to its default state of despotism. It ain’t going back the other way. Ever.

      2. no way either Team lets the scale tilt back toward more liberty, not to the extent you would like.

      3. We got into our current semi-socialist mess not because Socialists won elections, but because they took over the Democratic Party, making lots of compromises. Libertarians can do the same thing with the GOP.

        1. As much as I despise the Jackasses, they didn’t singlehandedly get us into this mess.

          1. I agree. My point is that purist libertarianism (e.g. campaigning on ending Medicare) won’t get us out of it, because it’s not an electable proposition.

    3. “…I want … reforms aimed at lowering the costs of health care


      First, you must understand a few things.

      1. “health care” means Medicare, Medicaid federal expenditures. It means what Congress lays out each year to pay for their welfare medicine programs.

      It DOES NOT MEAN the price of medicine on the open market for anyone.

      2. Costs and prices are different things.

      Costs relate to the expense of production of something. Prices relate to the acquisition of ownership of something.

      Consumers face prices. Producers face costs.

      3. All prices adhere to one great, infrangible law for all of economics, the Law of Prices.

      The Law of Prices holds the winning bids of demand in the face of supply set the price.

      Right now, in the marketplace for medicine (in summation, technically there are thousands of marketplaces for all kinds of medicine/medical products), the U.S. Congress is the number one bidder. The U.S. Congress accounts for between 60 to 65% of all buying of medical products (drugs, doctors’ work, hospital stays).

      In short, because the U.S. Congress outbids everyone else, they set the price for all things medicine.

      If you want lower prices, Medicare and Medicaid must be ended.

      1. Medicare and Medicaid must be ended.

        The only possible reason to want to end these programs is disagreement with its good intentions, so, why do you hate the poor and the old?

        1. If you want lower prices…

          If you want ever better, ever more effective medical products …

          If you want ever more persons being able to buy outright from their earnings, medical product …

          If you want greater efficiency, freeing up capital to put more Americans to work elsewhere …

          then yes, you and every American not corrupted by Congressional largess that is Medicare and Medicaid want these programs ended.

          1. You’re talking about the unseen! You can’t see the unseen, so how can it exist? All that exists is what we see that is centrally planned! How can something exist without being centrally planned? Who will plan it? The evil profiteering rich! Why do you lick the boots that hold you down! Boot licker! Boot licker!

      2. As long as the U.S. Congress gains unearned buying power through debt issuance with taxation covering debt service to buy on behalf of welfare seekers, prices shall remain high.

        Everyone involved in the exchange of medicine-related products, from medical bills paying insurance to doctors to drug makers to medical schools like this system. They gain unearned profits ? profits gained without having to compete at inflated prices.

        With excessive buying power thrown in, producers no longer get constrained by the great Axiom of Profit ? the sum of sales must at least equal the cost of production, otherwise the producer goes to ruin.

        Thus no longer must producers produce efficiently. Resources get wasted. Excessive profits accrue to participants.

        In free-markets, profits are hard to come by. Producers must forever engage in technological advance in pursuit of efficiency. When that happens, often supply increases, prices fall. Even the poorest can buy at least some things.

      3. If you want lower prices, Medicare and Medicaid must be ended.

        Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. There are many things short of that that could be done, and could actually be sold to voters: Rein in the FDA to make medicines cheaper. Rein in the trial lawyers to make malpractice insurance cheaper. Allow nurses and pharmacists etc. to do more. Allow health insurance purchases across state lines. Start decoupling insurance and employment, at least for people entering the workforce. Repeal certificate of need laws. Promote price transparency. Etc.

        1. Well, we can’t do that. If we can’t implement our ideal system at once, there’s no point at all in improving our situation. Let’s just wait for everyone else to arrive at that conclusion — that should start to happen any day now…

        2. and all you need to know is how the obviously simple steps you outline are ignored. People choose to ignore that the ban on interstate sales did not implement itself and that nuisance suits / defensive medicine did not occur in a vacuum.

          In addition, some of these steps put the onus on the individual, and way too many people would rather someone else make decisions for them than do so themselves.

        3. Start decoupling insurance and employment, at least for people entering the workforce.

          And when you do that, how are people going to buy insurance when they are old and a bad risk. Life insurance is for the most part decoupled from employment. And old people can’t buy it.

          The only thing that saved the country from single payer is the fact that people got their health insurance through their job and thus didn’t worry about not having insurance when they got old. Take away that security and make health insurance like life insurance and we will have single payer within a decade.

          You may not like that fact. But that doesn’t change that it is true.

          1. How many old people are entering the workforce? I mean kids out of high school and college. In other words, if you already have an employer plan, fine. Don’t threaten those people. But start the process by allowing employers to hire people without tied health insurance, but at equivalently higher pay, and let them buy their own.

  6. A slim majority (52 percent) also feels low-cost, low-coverage health insurance policies should be allowed, while 43 percent say they should be prohibited.

    We are the 43% ! and we’re pricing you out of the market for your own good!

  7. Support for the new health care system increases with education: only 28 percent of those with high school degrees or less favor the new health care system compared to 42 percent of those with post-graduate degrees. Although educational attainments is correlated with preference for the new system, income is not.

    This paragraph says so much about what is wrong with the US and its educational system.

  8. All I hear is 75% of Americans are happy with their health insurance.
    Now I hear 58% want their old insurance back.

    These measures are meaningless.

    The real question should be asked of those that had major diseases and injuries. What is the % of those people that are happy with their plan.
    That will actually show the truth.

    The fact is, and thank god, most people do not experience a major disease or injury. This is what makes insurance work. So, asking the entire population is meaningless. The entire population doesn’t really use it.
    It’s not until your child gets AML and the insurance company starts weasaling out of the claims for this/that/other thing that one knows what it’s all about. And many times, it does cover major disease/injuries.

    I’m willing to bet these plans that don’t meet the ACA standard are those that would weasel out of a major claim.

    1. Regardless of whether one supports ACA or believes in Single Payer, or 100% Free Market with no safety nets, we should use the proper measure.

      These % being thrown around are garbage.
      We need to use as our population those people that had major medical claims.

  9. This is a nice Sharing, quite informative too.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.