As the Affordable Care Act—or Obamacare—enters its second period of open enrollment, many Americans are already disillusioned with President Obama’s initiative to reform the nation’s healthcare system.
56 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the program, the highest disapproval rating since such polling began in late 2012. Only 37 percent indicated that they agree with or approve of the program.
These numbers are sharply down since just one year ago, when some 46% of Americans said they approved of the Act. But late in 2013, many Americans received notice that their current healthcare policies were being cancelled—in stark contrast to Obama’s now-infamous quote, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”
(President Obama later clarified that what he’d meant was that Americans could keep their healthcare plans—if those plans didn’t change once the Affordable Care Act was passed.)
The timing for these low approval scores couldn’t be worse for the President, as they come on the heels of midterm elections earlier this month. Those elections went strongly in favor of the Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress. Party leaders have already begun discussing actions that could lead to the repeal of the unpopular law.
While President Obama’s veto power could make repeal difficult, it’s not just Republicans who have issues with the Affordable Care Act. Granted, some 74 percent of Democrats claim they approve of Obama care, as compared to only 8 percent of Republicans. But people who self-identify as Independent approve of the law at only a 33 percent rate. The law has never been particularly popular among these impartial voters, with approval rates fluctuating between 31 and 41 percent since 2012, according to Gallup.
Even at the time of the law’s inception, public opinion was split roughly 50/50 between approval and disapproval. But since sweeping reforms took effect at the beginning of this year, public opinion has plummeted to its current all-time low. Even the President himself has expressed regrets and acknowledged he’s considering reforming or modifying the law in some areas.
Thus far, officials claim the open enrollment period is moving smoother than last year. But states like Washington and Maryland have experienced delays due to ongoing system glitches. What’s more, applying for the program doesn’t necessarily mean that users ultimately will enroll. The administration has a long way to go in gaining the public’s trust in Obamacare.