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Voters' Views on Affordable Care Act Split Along Party Lines

Health care is third most important issue to Americans in fall elections, according to polls

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Americans' opinions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are sharply divided along political lines, according to research published online Oct. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The findings come from 27 public opinion polls conducted by 14 organizations.

Democratic voters are strongly in favor of the ACA, according to the researchers. Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of Democrats want the next Congress to move ahead with the ACA. Thirty percent want Congress to implement the current law, while 44 percent want to expand the scope of the ACA. Among Independent voters, one-third want the law repealed, and 27 percent want it scaled back. Eight percent of Independents want the current law implemented, and 26 percent want the ACA expanded. Fifty-six percent of Republican voters want the next Congress to repeal the law, and another 27 percent want it scaled back.

Health care is considered the third most important issue in the Congressional elections on Nov. 4, according to the polls. The number of Americans who believe that the federal government is responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health insurance declined from 64 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2014, and is even lower (41 percent) among likely voters. Support for universal health coverage is 70 percent among Democratic voters and 12 percent among Republicans.

"The intensity of partisan feeling about the ACA in this election could make the next phase of its implementation a very contentious issue in the next Congress," study coauthor Robert Blendon, Sc.D., professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said in a university news release.

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