Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Poll: Americans Want to Go Back to Previous Health Care System, Disagree With President Obama on Size and Power of Government

Americans say Obama administration is not transparent, they've lost confidence in government and Congress doesn't understand health care


At a recent event, President Barack Obama said the health care law is here to stay and vowed, "We aren't going back." But 55 percent of Americans say they'd prefer to go back to the health care system that was in place before the Affordable Care Act, while 34 percent prefer the current health care system. 

The latest Reason-Rupe national telephone poll finds the Affordable Care Act's troubled launch has made 47 percent of Americans less confident in government's ability to solve problems. Forty-one percent say the troubles have made no difference and 11 percent say the health care law's launch has given them more confidence in the government.

"This is the most transparent administration in history," President Obama has declared. However, 57 percent of Americans tell Reason-Rupe that the Obama administration is not the most transparent administration in history, while 37 percent agree with the president's statement.

A majority of Americans, 52 percent, say they disagree with President Obama's views about the proper size and power of government, while 38 percent agree with the president.

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed feel government is generally a "burdensome part of society that impedes the ability of people to improve their lives," while 41 percent feel "government is primarily a source of good and helps people improve their lives."

Nearly three out of four Americans, 73 percent, believe members of Congress do not understand health care or how health care laws impact Americans. Just 25 percent think members of Congress understand the consequences of the health care laws they pass.

Seventy percent of Americans oppose making young people pay more for health care to help fund health care for older or less healthy Americans. Six in 10 oppose requiring younger, healthier people to help fund insurance for those with pre-existing conditions. And 57 percent believe lower cost health care plans that provide fewer benefits than required by the Affordable Care Act should be allowed.  

Of the 44 percent of respondents who say that they liked the Affordable Care Act when it passed, 41 percent of them like it less now.   Of the 52 percent who disliked the law when it was passed, 14 percent like it more now.

When it comes to health care overall, 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Obama is doing, while 38 percent approve. Overall, however, 47 percent say they approve of the job President Obama is doing — four points better than the September Reason-Rupe poll. One in five Americans, 20 percent, approve of the job Congress is doing, down slightly from September.

Poll Results

These poll results are online here and additional Reason-Rupe poll resources are available here. This is the latest in a series of Reason-Rupe public opinion surveys dedicated to exploring what Americans really think about government and major issues.  This Reason Foundation project is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation.

The Reason-Rupe poll conducted live interviews with 1,011 adults on mobile (506) and landline (505) phones from December 4-8, 2013. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 percent. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey.

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  1. Let’s not get too dewy-eyed over the old system, which suffered badly from ‘third-payer syndrome’, price gouging, and state-aided restrictions on competition. There is room for government to kick-start a more libertarian approach and then leave it to its own devices, right after the Tea Party Revolution….

  2. I think the biggest mistake that politicians failed to recognize regarding healthcare is that people are willing to spend a boatload of money for a product (health insurance) that they will rarely use and that annually doesn’t justify it’s own cost (yes, except as a hedge against a bad year). The point is that if people are willing to place that much value on such an annually fruitless product then replacing it with something else better be pretty damn good. Obamacare is not that product and it never would be. It’s just more regulations and an added tax so that those without healthcare can have it. People buy insurance as a hedge. Not one person who buys their own insurance (health, car, etc) doesn’t think that they might never see a dime of that in return (they could die suddenly). People don’t naturally want to buy insurance – they do it because they want to be responsible. Obamacare is basically telling them they need to pay more so that those who are unable to be responsible enough to pay for insurance themselves can have it. It’s like spreading crap on a manure sandwich.

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