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Obamacare vs. Affordable Care Act: Which one is better-liked?

Do people think more highly of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act?

Republican lawmakers are trying to fulfill a Donald Trump campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare – a health care reform bill signed in 2010 that, according to a recent Marquette poll, 53 percent of Wisconsites view unfavorably. Meanwhile 40 percent view it favorably.

Instead, those respondents have a preference for the Affordable Care Act. For that health care reform bill, 40 percent of respondents hold an unfavorable view, while 51 percent see it favorably.

See the problem here?

Yes, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the exact same thing. But swap one name out for the other, and some people will have different opinions of it.

Is this surprising? Not really.

In January, the New York Times published a Morning Consult poll that found 35 percent of respondents either thought Obamacare and the ACA were different policies, or didn't know if the two were the same or different.

And Jimmy Kimmel has gone back to this well twicenow for man-on-the-street bits.

While it's sort of funny, consider how large the health care overhaul looms over the political landscape. A promise to repeal "Obamacare" was a rallying cry from the now-president while campaigning, and U.S. Republicans have voted for years to nix the law – only to be vetoed by President Barack Obama every time.

Support and opposition over the years

Support for the health care law is generally higher than it's ever been, according to Pew Research. A 2017 survey found 54 percent of respondents approved of the law, a high for Pew's polling, while 43 percent disapproved. Disapproval has generally been higher since it was enacted in 2010.

The party divide is stark though: 85 percent of Democrats said they approve in that most recent survey, while just 10 percent of Republicans felt that way. Approval among Independents was at 53 percent.

With all the discussion about what will happen to the health care law, NPR/Ipsos did a survey in January asking people what they think should be done.

  • 38 percent said the Affordable Care Act should be strengthened or expanded.
  • 31 percent said it should be repealed and replaced.
  • 14 percent said it should just be repealed.
  • 6 percent said left as-is.
  • 11 percent didn't know.

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