The partisan split over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the center of the budget impasse that shut down the federal government last week reflects sharp divisions in the public's view of the law. But public opinion surveys show that most Americans, even those who oppose the healthcare reform law, disapprove of shutting down the government to stop healthcare reform.
Polls conducted last month, before the public health insurance exchanges opened for enrollment Oct. 1, continued to show that more Americans have a negative opinion of the law than a positive one. Of the 1,503 adults surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation for its Health Tracking Poll in mid-September, 43% expressed an unfavorable view of the 2010 law. A New York Times/CBS News poll from Sept. 19-23 indicated that 51% of Americans disapprove of the law.
There were no polls available last week to indicate whether views of the law have changed since the exchanges opened. Unexpectedly high traffic to the exchange websites and call centers showed more initial public interest than expected, but technical difficulties and delays in accessing the sites and call centers could have soured some people.