Healthcare law's popularity hits new low

Support for Democrats' healthcare reform has hit its lowest point since the law passed in March 2010, says a new monthly poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

After months of split support for the law, 51 percent of respondents to the latest poll had an unfavorable view while only 34 percent had a favorable impression. 

The key reason for the change, the poll found, was Democrats' waning support: Even though they remain more favorable to the law than Republicans and Independents, the proportion of Democrats with favorable views has decreased from about two-thirds to just 52 percent in October.

ADVERTISEMENT
The poor polling numbers all but ensure that the law will be a handicap for many Democrats — and the president himself — going into the 2012 election. They also suggest that Republicans' constant hammering at the law has been effective: Only 18 percent of respondents now expect that they and their families will be better off thanks to the law, down from 27 percent just last month.

The poll caps several weeks of bad news relating to the law. 

Late last month, Kaiser released its annual report on healthcare premiums showing a 9 percent hike in family premiums this year. Rather than driving premiums down by $2,500, as President Obama promised during the 2008 campaign, the healthcare law is responsible for about one sixth of that increase, according to Kaiser.

And earlier this month, the administration announced that the law's long-term-care CLASS program was unsustainable and that it was dropping it. The move has infuriated many of the law's supporters, who feel the Department of Health and Human Services hasn't been honest about its intentions.

The poll also could carry some good news for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Even as his primary opponents are trying to link his Massachusetts healthcare reform plan to the federal law, nearly seven in 10 likely Republican voters say they don't know enough about the Massachusetts law to have either a favorable or unfavorable opinion of it. And 71 percent couldn't say whether the law was similar to the national healthcare reform law.