Six years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, California voters remain strongly supportive of the law but are much more divided over whether it improved health care for them and their families, according to the latest USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll.
Fifty-three percent of Californians said they favor the Affordable Care Act while 12 percent thought that it did not go far enough, according to the results of the statewide political survey. Twenty-seven percent of Californians said they opposed the law because they thought it went too far.
However, poll respondents were almost evenly split on the question of whether Obamacare had improved care for themselves and their families: Twenty-three percent said it had, but 22 percent said it worsened their health care. More than half (52 percent) of the respondents said that it had made no impact.
“On most domestic public policy issues, voters make their decisions on support and opposition based on the impact of that policy change on their own lives,” said Dan Schnur, director of USC’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics. “But on health care, Californians’ ongoing support for the bill has not been affected by their own experience with the Affordable Care Act.
“It appears that most California voters who support Obamacare are doing so because they believe it has had a beneficial impact on society as a whole rather than on their personal interaction with their own health care providers,” Schnur said.
The USC Dornsife/LA Times Poll also showed that more than three-quarters of Californians believe that the law resulted in health care coverage for more people, and 59 percent agreed that people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied health insurance. However, more than half (55 percent) also believed that health care costs have gone up “a lot.”
Californians certainly don’t like the fact that health costs have increased.
“Californians certainly don’t like the fact that health costs have increased,” Schnur said. “But their support for the Affordable Care Act seems to indicate that they believe that it is a reasonable tradeoff in order to reduce the number of uninsured in the state.”
Asked about their concerns, 89 percent of the voters said they worry about rising health care costs, 76 percent worry about prescription drug costs, 73 percent worry about the quality of health care and 70 percent worry that they will lack health insurance.
The latest USC/Dornsife Los Angeles Times Poll, the largest statewide survey of registered voters, was conducted May 19-31. It includes a significant oversample of Latino voters, as well as one of the most robust cell phone samples in the state. The full sample of 1,500 voters has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.
Additional poll results and methodology are available.