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Poll: Americans Oppose Healthcare Coverage for other Americans Aided by Federal Government

A majority of Americans agree say that it is not the U.S. government's responsibility to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage, a new poll says.

A majority of Americans agree say that it is not the U.S. government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage, a new poll says.

(Chicago) – A majority of Americans agree say that it is not the U.S. government’s responsibility to ensure that all Americans have healthcare coverage, a new poll says.

According to Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare poll, conducted Nov. 6-9., 52% of Americans oppose the federal government’s effort to ensure healthcare insurance coverage for other U.S. citizens.

Before Barack Obama became president in 2009, a majority of Americans supported healthcare coverage for all Americans.

Gallup first asked this question in 2000, when 59% of Americans said it was the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare. This sentiment peaked at 69% in 2006.

Americans’ attitudes began to shift in the 2008 poll, just after Obama was elected, and deepened after Obama took office in 2009. During this time, Republicans and independents became more likely to say universal healthcare was not the government’s responsibility.

Opposition grew in 2012 and has been the majority opinion in the U.S. over the past three years.

While seven in 10 Democrats and Democratic leaners agree that providing healthcare coverage to all is the federal government’s job, three-quarters of Republicans and Republican leaners disagree.

Meanwhile, as the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period begins, 37% of Americans say they approve of the law, one percentage point below the previous low in January. Fifty-six percent disapprove, the high in disapproval by one point.

Nevertheless, Americans’ ratings of healthcare coverage in the U.S. have generally held steady, despite the opening of the healthcare exchanges in 2013 and the decline in the uninsured rate this year.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans now rate healthcare coverage in the U.S. as “excellent” or “good,” within the range of the combined positive ratings seen since 2009, but more positive than what Gallup found from 2001 to 2008.

Americans’ positive ratings of coverage jumped from 26% in November 2008 to 38% November 2009, after Obama took office and vowed to make healthcare a priority. Ratings generally remained more upbeat after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, though they did dip slightly in 2011 and 2013.

Gallup poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 6-9, 2014 with a random sample of 828 adults, aged 18 and older. The margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

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