Americans' split on Obama health care law

Detail view of the United States Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC. Jonathan P. Larsen

Monday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes as the public opinion is divided over what should happen to the president's signature legislative achievement. According to a CBS News/New York Times Poll conducted last month, 45 percent of Americans think the health care law should be repealed, but nearly as many -- 41 percent -- say it should stay put. Among those who support repeal, 25 percent want to get rid of the entire law, and another 20 percent think just certain parts should be eliminated.

These views are similar to what they were in September when 47 percent backed repeal and 40 percent did not.

Many Republicans have argued that the health care law is unconstitutional because of a provision requiring individuals to purchase health insurance. While the poll question did not address the law's constitutionality, nearly eight in 10 Republicans think Congress should repeal the health care law, including 54 percent who want the entire law abolished. Democrats hold the opposing view: 60 percent support keeping the health care law as is. Independents are split.

Even though overall support for the health care law is mixed, majorities have favored some individual elements of the law, including requiring health insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents' health care plan until age 26. However, the provision that requires all Americans get health insurance is not as popular. A CNN/ORC Poll conducted this past summer found 54 percent of Americans oppose that provision.

  • Jennifer Pinto

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