Many don't know if health law was repealed, poll shows

health care

Nearly half the country either believes President Obama's health care law has been repealed or doesn't know, a new survey shows. The law has not been repealed, though House Republicans have passed a repeal measure. The Senate would have to pass that measure and then Mr. Obama would need to sign it for repeal to go into effect.

Twenty-two percent of Americans said the reform package has been repealed, the new Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows. Another 26 percent say they don't know enough to say whether it's still law. Roughly half of Americans, 52 percent, correctly responded that the reforms are still in place.

After campaigning in the 2010 midterm elections on the promise to repeal the president's sweeping reforms, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives made repeal its top priority. The GOP-led House passed a repeal bill in January. Democrats still control the Senate, however, and they voted down the repeal measure earlier this month. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to continue fighting the reforms.

Kaiser's poll shows that more Americans, 48 percent, have an unfavorable view of the laws than hold a favorable view (43 percent).

Four in 10 want the reform package repealed, though half of those respondents want it replaced with a Republican alternative. Twenty percent want the current law to be fully implemented, while another 30 percent want the reforms expanded.

When asked about specific, key provisions of the new law, even those who want it repealed say they would keep most of the law's individual elements. For instance, among those who want the reforms repealed, 60 percent say they would keep the provision to close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the "doughnut hole."

The most unpopular provision of the bill is the individual mandate -- the requirement for all Americans to purchase health insurance, which goes into effect in 2014. Even among those who say they want to keep the reforms, 52 percent say the individual mandate should be repealed.

Since Republicans in Congress have been unable to repeal the full reform package, they're also trying to dismantle the laws by defunding them. Last week, as part of a larger government spending bill, the House passed a measure to defund all aspects of the reform laws -- though that measure has almost no chance to get through the Senate.

The Kaiser poll shows that 61 percent of Americans oppose the GOP's defunding tactic. Among respondents who oppose defunding the laws, 59 percent said their position is grounded in the fact that the tactic doesn't seem like "the way our government should work." A recent CBS News poll also found that 55 percent opposed cutting off funding for the laws.