Regional variations in public opinion on the affordable care act

Mollyann Brodie, Claudia Deane, Sarah Cho
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 2011, 36 (6): 1097-103
One year after passage, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains a divisive topic. Most publicly released polls on the law have focused on the views of Americans as a whole. But with much of the responsibility of implementation lying with the states, this essay explores whether opinion differs geographically. The analysis finds that views on the health reform law do differ by region, and these differences are most likely driven by the political leanings of a given area. While opinion nationally differs by age and race, this pattern does not hold when looking by region. Areas that have a larger share of uninsured and are slated to receive greater federal funding under the ACA also do not differ in their opinions. These data suggest that regional variations in attitudes about the ACA are based less on the demographic structure of a region and more on the political ideologies of residents in a given region. As implementation of the law continues, this analysis shows that national opinion data mask important regional variations in views of the ACA.

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