During the first open-enrollment period, 7.3 million individuals signed up for private plans through the state and federal exchanges, according to HHS. The Congressional Budget Office expects that number to reach 13 million during the second year of exchange operations.
In Kaiser's final poll before the midterm elections, it found that opposition to the ACA has softened slightly. Among those surveyed, 43% indicated an unfavorable view of the federal healthcare law, while 36% cited a favorable view. That's down from a 53%-37% divide in July, but almost identical to survey results from a year ago. However, most voters (64%) want Congress to fix the law rather than repeal and replace it (33%) as Republicans have suggested.
Healthcare will not be the top issue on voters' minds as they head to the polls. Just 8% of respondents cited it as their chief concern. That ranks behind the economy (16%), dissatisfaction with government (12%), education (10%) and the situation in Iraq and Syria (9%) among the top issues cited by respondents. But more than a quarter of respondents (27%) indicated that the healthcare law will be “extremely” important to their vote.
Most registered voters (56%) said the healthcare law has had no direct effect on their lives. Among those who cited an impact, 26% said the ACA has hurt them while 16% indicated that it has helped them.
Voters in states with competitive Senate races said that they're seeing more negative ads about the federal healthcare law than favorable spots. More than a third indicated that they've seen more anti-ACA ads in the last month, compared to just 3% that said they've seen more pro-ACA spots.
Kaiser's survey also included a series of questions about the Ebola outbreak roiling West Africa that has led to three patients on U.S. soil diagnosed with the virus. More than 60% of respondents indicated that they are very or somewhat worried that there will be a large number of Ebola cases in the U.S. in the next year. But conversely, 73% of respondents said they expected the outbreak to be limited to a small number of cases in this country.
In addition, respondents indicated a relatively high level of faith in healthcare institutions to deal with the outbreak. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they have a fair amount or great deal of confidence that their local hospital could handle an Ebola patient, with a similar level of confidence expressed in their local health departments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fared better on this question, with 73% of respondents indicating confidence in the federal agency's ability to deal with Ebola.
Kaiser's telephone survey was conducted Oct. 8-14. It includes 1,503 adults, with respondents split evenly between cellphones and land lines. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample and plus or minus 9 percentage points for the uninsured.
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