Today is the eighth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and the law has never been as popular. According to a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, a majority of Americans (54 percent) now have a favorable view of the ACA, the highest ever recorded.
Another poll, of voters in this month’s special election for Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, found that more people (44 percent) support the ACA than oppose it (42 percent). Those numbers don’t seem impressive until you recall that Donald Trump carried this district by 20 points in 2016 after campaigning to repeal the ACA.
The exit poll in the Pennsylvania 18th Congressional District also shows that Democrat Conor Lamb’s huge upset over Republican Rick Saccone in the special election was propelled by voters who share Lamb’s support for the ACA. In this heavily Republican district, a majority (53 percent) disapproved of Republican efforts last year to repeal the ACA while only 39 percent approved, the poll found.
Americans’ support for the ACA should come as no surprise. The law has made health care affordable to millions of people, expanded Medicaid, made it illegal for insurers to deny coverage for preexisting conditions, and much more.
As AFSCME President Lee Saunders put it, “Eight years ago, millions of Americans were finally guaranteed the health care coverage they need to live healthy and productive lives without fear if they get sick.”
What was shocking were last year’s efforts by Trump and congressional leaders to repeal the law, in defiance of public opinion and for no other reason than to cut taxes for corporations and the super-rich. In doing so they revealed once again that their priorities are not aligned with those of working families, and that they work for a tiny portion of the country – namely, their incredibly wealthy donors.
But millions of people stood up for the ACA, including many AFSCME members, and we won. AFSCME will continue to fight for the freedom of working families to have access to quality, affordable health care.
“After eight years of relentless attacks to take away health care, most recently the passing of a cruel tax scam that robbed millions of coverage, the ACA is still here because everyday people, including AFSCME health care professionals and other public service workers, have stood up to defend the health care they know their communities need and deserve,” Saunders said. “Americans have had enough of continued attacks by politicians on our health care to line the pockets of billionaires.”