Poll: Support for Repeal of Health-Care Reform Law Increases After One Month

By Christopher Neefus | April 26, 2010 | 5:54 PM EDT

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), shown here at an anti-health-care rally in March 2010, said on Wednesday, April 14, that America’s capitalist and free market economic system is in peril because President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are moving toward socialism. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – A new national poll shows support for repealing President Obama’s health care reform law has not abated in the month since its passage, and actually ticked up. 

“Support for repeal of the recently-passed national health care plan remains strong as most voters believe the law will increase the cost of care, hurt quality and push the federal budget deficit even higher,” said the new release from the polling firm Rasmussen Reports.

Fifty-eight (58) percent of likely voters said they would support an effort to repeal the legislation, as Republicans have given consideration to campaigning on such a promise. Just 38 percent communicated opposition to such an effort. 

The percentage who support repeal efforts are up 3 percent from the week just after the bill passed, when President Obama made several campaign-style stops in support of the bill.

The ranks of those who believe the bill will be “bad for the country” have also increased from 49 to 52 percent over the same time period, while the percentage of likely voters who believe reform will be “good for the country” has inched down from 41 to 39 percent. 

The overall negative perception of the bill seems to stem from the belief of an overwhelming portion of respondents that the bill’s effects will include diminishing the quality of health care, running federal deficits higher, and increasing general health care costs. 

By a 60-19 margin, the likely voters said they expected the bill to “increase the deficit,” with another 13 percent saying the red ink would remain unchanged; by a 2-to-1 margin, respondents said the quality of care in America would get worse instead of better (51-24); and 57 percent said the cost of care would go up versus just 18 percent who said it would go down and 20 percent who expected it to remain the same.

At least one of those fears -- that the cost of care would rise -- seems to have been confirmed by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). 

In a report issued last week on the expected financial impact of the law, CMS Chief Actuary Rick Foster concluded that overall spending would increase 1 percent over the status quo system that President Obama has framed as a threat to the long-term strength of the economy. 

Foster's report also raised concerns about the long-term feasibility of keeping in place a half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, a huge offset to other costs incurred by the law.

Last month, just prior to the House vote on the bill, Foster told the congressional leadership that his staff would be unable to update their actuarial tables and cost estimates in time for the final debate and vote in the House of Representatives.

"I regret that my staff and I will not be able to prepare our analysis within this very tight time frame, due to the complexity of the legislation. We will, however, continue working to estimate the financial, coverage and other aspects of the healthreform package and will provide these results to you as quickly as possible," Foster wrote at the time.

House Democratic leadership, however, scheduled the vote without the information, relying on a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate that passing the bill would decrease the federal budget deficit by over $100 billion in 10 years.

The bill passed on March 21 despite dozens of defections among Democrats, and was signed into law by Obama on March 23. 

The Rasmussen poll was conducted among 1,000 likely voters on April 24 and 25 and carries a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.