As Supreme Court Weighs Health Care Reform, Americans View Law More Dimly

By Larry Kane and Jericka Duncan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The new health care law goes to the US Supreme Court this week (see related story), with a new poll showing support for it is weak.

“Today we have a lot of people that don’t get coverage until they need it,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “They go to the emergency room, they go to the hospital and the rest of us pay for that, is that fair?”

Democrat Delaware U.S. Sen. Tom Carper supports The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010. Part of legislation includes a fine, by 2014 for people without health insurance.

Republican Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Toomey of Pennsylvania wants the act repealed.

“This is a breathtaking brand new assertion of power on the part of the federal government,” said Sen, Toomey. “Let’s be clear, if the government can force you to go out and buy health insurance they can force you to buy anything else.”

The Supreme Court will eventually decide whether the insurance mandate is constitutional. In the court of public opinion, feelings are mixed.

If the American people decided today on whether to keep or scrap the health care reform package passed in 2010, it would not be close.

40-year-old Will Moultrie has insurance through his job but he doesn’t necessarily agree people should be forced to have health care coverage on their own.

“If it’s affordable, I think everyone should have it,” said the West Philadelphia native. “I don’t think it’s fair to have them make you pay for it.”

Second year Medical students, Genevieve Streb and Kelli Braightmeyer, said they aren’t even sure which side to choose.

“I think that there definitely needs to be something done,” said Streb. “I think everybody needs to have a right to health care, but I don’t know this is exactly the answer to it.”

“I don’t really know what one thing is right,” said Braightmeyer. “I don’t know if there is one right answer for everyone.”

Forty-seven percent of respondents in a new CBS News poll disapprove of the law, while just 36 percent approve of it.

But it’s the inside of the poll that tells you a lot.  Only 16 percent “strongly approve,” while 30 percent “strongly disapprove.”

The longer the debate continues, it seems, the more people are against it.  Two years ago, 43 percent approved of the health care reform law.

59-year-old Christine Jacobs says she read through most of the Affordable Care Act. She’s closely monitoring what happens in the highest court.

“I’m hoping that what comes out of it is the understanding that we’re all actually in health care today and this is just an equitable way of making sure everyone be sure to pay for it,” said Jacobs.

Now, the highest degree of support comes from people under 30, and the lowest from senior Americans.

More Details from the CBS News Poll

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  • lieu gurth

    scam , make all legal citizens buy insurance .. so we help pay for insurance to the mexicans . ca full of illegal mexican anchor babies . look at the numbers of mexican births year in ca . most have no insurance , live off tax payers money welfare food stamps etc etc etc

  • Hater

    Just like obama, this bill is done.

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    […] The new health care law goes to the U.S. Supreme Court this week, with a new poll showing support for it is weak. More […]

  • No Brainer

    Gov. Rick Scott, a critic of the federal health care overhaul, is paying less than $400 a year for health insurance for himself and his wife.The multimillionaire and former hospital chain executive chose to enroll in the taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plan offered by the state of Florida.Scott is among nearly 32,000 people in state government who pay relatively low health insurance premiums. It’s a perk that is available to high-ranking state officials, including those in top management at all state agencies. Nearly all 160 state legislators are also enrolled in the program that costs just $8.34 a month for individual coverage and $30 a month for family coverage. By the way he’s also a Republican like Senator Toomey at these prices who needs health care reform?

  • No Brainer

    Well Republicans why are you and your families accepting very generous government backed health coverage that’s paid for by us tax payers ? Just tell the government that you don’t what us tax payers paying your health coverage any longer and opt out any takers that’s what I thought. You don’t need car insurance until you have an accident.

    • Term Limits of 1

      The Dems are playing in the same tax-payer based healthcare systems. Don’t just focus on the Reps.

  • grumpy

    Had the Democrats done a better job in explaining this bill to the American people by taking the Republican criticism head on, I think that the support would be much , much higher.
    Fortunately, this Affordable Healthcare Act will pass in the high court as is.

  • RobW

    If the government can force you to have insurance, they can force you to have anything they want. THIS is what’s not fair. No one should be required to have insurance, but if they don’t; they need to pay for their own medical bills and not rely on the taxpayers. If the health plan was 50 pages long, instead of 2,000 members of Congress might actually know what it’s all about because they will have read it. No bill should be longer than 100 pages.

  • Another Jean

    Unfortunately, not many people understand that the health care law will keep insurers from denying them coverage due to pre-existing conditions. This is a HUGE benefit. They also cannot be dropped by an insurer just because they got sick and need expensive care; and they will not be told that they’ve used up all the money that the insurance company will pay for life and thus get stuck with enormous bills if they need to keep fighting a serious illness. The insurance companies don’t like the new law because it requires that they put more of their money into helping sick people. Their CEOs make millions, while telling a young mother with cancer that they won’t pay for further treatment. I wish the many benefits of this law had been better publicized!

  • mikey

    The disconnect is between reality and people that watch Fox “News”. If the pollster was only polling folks that can describe accurately what is in the bill, the approval rating would be higher.

    • Me

      it was a CBS poll, not a Fox one. So I don’t understand the antagonism against the ‘low’ numbers.

      I’m not sure what all is in the 2000 page Law. Some of that I have heard, I support. Other parts I firmly believe that DC over stretched their reach. Even Nancy Pelosi can’t explain what it in the Bill.

  • Me

    Interesting…the best support of the Bill\Law was only 43%. Yet Senate and House approved at >60%. Anyone else see a disconnected between DC and the rest of us?

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