5 things to know about voters’ healthcare priorities, ACA awareness heading into 2018 elections

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The Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate to have health insurance was repealed through the tax cut legislation signed into law late in 2017—but according to a new poll from Kaiser Family Foundation, most Americans either weren’t sure it was repealed or incorrectly believe it remains in place.

Only 36 percent of respondents to the poll correctly said the mandate had been repealed. 46 percent said it hadn’t and another 18 percent said they don’t know. As far as the entire law goes, most voters (68 percent) correctly said the ACA remains in place, while 17 percent incorrectly believe it has been repealed.

In five other findings from the poll:

1. Healthcare was cited as the top national issue for voters in the 2018 midterm elections, being named by 29 percent of respondents. There was a partisan split, however, as 39 percent of Democratic voters said healthcare was the top issue compared to only 13 percent of Republicans.

2. The majority of respondents said they heard “a little” (31 percent) or nothing at all (29 percent) about the most recent open enrollment period for the ACA exchanges.

3. 42 percent of voters said they think the ACA exchanges are “collapsing,” down from 50 percent in September 2017, while 46 percent said they’re not collapsing, up from 35 percent a few months prior. As far as future responsibility for the ACA’s problems, 61 percent of voters overall said those would fall on President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. This question also showed a partisan split, with 49 percent of Republicans saying any blame should fall on former President Barack Obama and the Democrats who helped pass the law.

4. Majorities said top priorities for Congress should include renewing funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (68 percent) and stabilizing the ACA exchanges (51 percent). CHIP funding has since been reauthorized for six years.

5. Related to the recent CMS move to implement work requirements in Medicaid, most voters see it as a health insurance program (69 percent) rather than a welfare program (27 percent). Among Republicans, the divide is only 51 percent to 46 percent in framing Medicaid as an insurance program. Few respondents supported decreasing funding for either Medicaid (12 percent) or Medicare (12 percent), with pluralities favoring keeping funding “about the same.”