Abstract

Ten years after its enactment, public support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) still only reaches a scant majority. Candidates for the presidency—and the sitting president—have endorsed health reforms that would radically transition US health care away from the current system upon which the ACA was built. Few opinion surveys to date have captured dominant preferences among alternative health reform policies or characterized attitudes and experiences that might be associated with policy preferences. Using a 2019 nationally representative telephone survey, this article considers how variations in political values, attitudes toward government, and experiences with the health care system relate to competing health reform preferences. Differences between those who favor Medicare for All over building on the ACA largely reflect different levels of satisfaction with the status quo and views of private health insurance. By contrast, differences between ACA supporters and those who would favor replacing it with a state-based alternative reflect sharply different political values and attitudes. Key differences remain significant after controlling for demographic, health, and political characteristics. Overwhelming public support still eludes the ACA, and reaching consensus on future directions for health reform will remain challenging given differences in underlying beliefs.

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