WASHINGTON — They may not like it, but they don’t see it going away. About 7 in 10 Americans think President Barack Obama’s health care law will go fully into effect with some changes, ranging from minor to major alterations, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds.
Just 12 percent say they expect the Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare" to dismissive opponents — to be repealed completely.
The law — covering 30 million uninsured, requiring virtually every legal U.S. resident to carry health insurance and forbidding insurers from turning away the sick — remains as divisive as the day it passed more than two years ago. After surviving a Supreme Court challenge in June, its fate will probably be settled by the November election, with Republican Mitt Romney vowing to begin repealing it on Day One and Obama pledging to diligently carry it out.
That’s what the candidates say. But the poll found Americans are converging on the idea that the overhaul will be part of their lives in some form, although probably not down to its last clause and comma.
Forty-one percent said they expect it to be fully implemented with minor changes, while 31 percent said they expect to see it take effect with major changes. Only 11 percent said they think it will be implemented as passed.
Americans also prefer that states have a strong say in carrying out the overhaul. The poll found that 63 percent want states to run new health insurance markets called “exchanges." They would open for business in 2014, signing up individuals and small businesses for taxpayer-subsidized private coverage. With many GOP governors still on the sidelines, the federal government may wind up operating the exchanges in half or more of the states, an outcome only 32 percent of Americans want to see, according to the poll.
Finally, the poll found an enduring generation gap, with people 65 and older most likely to oppose the bill and those younger than 45 less likely to be against it.
Republicans remain overwhelmingly opposed to the overhaul and in favor of repeal. But only 21 percent said they think that will actually come about.