Over one month on from its debut, the U.S. government's healthcare.gov website is still suffering from technical problems. Though Americans largely blamed Republicans for shutting down the U.S. government in protest over the Affordable Care Act (colloquilly known as "Obamacare") in early October, it seems now that Republicans could have made more progress opposing the legislation by simply letting the website rollout speak for itself.
In fact, the shutdown seemed to have the opposite effect desired by Republicans. In early october a Gallup survey showed that general American approval for the Affordable Care Act was holding steady at 44%. Once the shutdown was over, however, headlines shifted back to the website's problems and American opinion on the Affordable Care Act is turning.
Gallup today released new results for its poll question, "Do you generally approve or disapprove of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama that restructured the U.S. healthcare system?" Between November 7 and 10 only 40% of Americans polled stated they generally approve of the healthcare legislation. A clear majority (55%) now say that they generally disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.
A breakdown of the demographics shows that approval for the Affordable Care Act is extremely party-driven. 73% of Democrats approve of the legislation while only 8% of Republicans do. Independents are leaning more toward disapproval, with only 39% saying they generally approve of the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to the website difficulties, the drop in approval for the new healthcare law could be related to recent reports of insurance companies dropping customers from their insurance plans. Though President Obama had promised that the Affordable Care Act does not require that people seek out new health care plans, a side-effect of the legislation has done just that, with insurance companies eliminating plans that do not meet new minimum standards.