March 29th marks the completion of the final day of the Supreme Court’s health care hearings. The Court is expected to make its ruling in late June. In conjunction with the final day of arguments, The New York Times released its polling data on the public’s support and comprehension of the Affordable Care Act and its implications. The poll finds that 47% of Americans disapprove of the legislation, while 36% approve. In addition, while the public can only speculate on the outcome of the health care hearings, the American people have specific opinions on how the Supreme Court should handle the case. 26% believe the law should remain intact, 29% favor overturning the individual mandate, and 38% would prefer the Court to find the entire law unconstitutional. Americans are much more favorable of the law’s specific provisions.
Aside from the individual mandate (51% of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that Americans purchase health insurance), the majority of Americans support: (1) the Act’s requirement that health insurance companies cover those possessing existing medical conditions, (2) The provision permitting children to remain on their parents’ policies until age 26, and (3) the Affordable Care Act’s attempt to close the prescription drug coverage gap, commonly known as the “doughnut hole.”
In terms of the personal effects of the 2010 health care law, most Americans believe the legislation will not have much effect on their overall health care benefits or the quality of care they receive, but they do expect their health care costs to increase as a result of the legislation.
Lastly, it appears that many Americans are confused with how the Affordable Care Act will affect them and their families. 48% of the public does not understand the 2,700-page act and the effects it will have on their families, while 47% say they do understand the law.