Nearly two-thirds of Americans say Congress should change the new health law to fulfill President Obama's oft-stated promise that people would be able to keep their insurance plans if they preferred them, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll.
A large majority (64 percent) of those surveyed said Congress should amend the Affordable Care Act to allow people to "keep their current coverage even if it doesn't meet the law's minimum standards." The poll found 31 percent disagreed, saying it's more important "that all insurance plans now meet a higher standard" under the law.
Democrats and African-Americans were the only major subgroups in which fewer than half of respondents said the law should be changed. But very narrow pluralities of those groups (48 percent of blacks and 49 percent of Democrats) still said Obamacare should be altered to let more people keep their current insurance plans.
The prevalence of that opinion highlights the political trouble facing Obama and Democrats after news of policy cancellations proliferated over the last few weeks. The president apologized for the broken promise and said his administration would take executive action to temporarily prevent insurance cancellations, but Republicans have hammered House and Senate Democrats who have made the same promise over the last four years — and who face reelection, unlike Obama.
"The American people feel very misled, and a bond of trust has been broken with the president and Democratic leaders in the House," said Greg Walden, National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, at a Christian Science Monitor event last week.
Meanwhile, more than half of the poll respondents said the Obama administration was most to blame for the technical problems plaguing the launch of the federal health insurance exchanges. Fifty-one percent said that "poor planning and supervision by the Obama administration" was most to blame for the struggles, while 31 percent said "technical problems ... are always part of a complex computer system" and another 13 percent said "a lack of adequate funding by Congress" was the main reason for Obamacare's implementation struggles.
The same subgroups that least called for changes to the law — Democrats and African-Americans — were also the only groups that blamed a factor other than the Obama administration for Obamacare's rocky insurance-exchange launch.
The United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, surveyed 1,013 adults by landline and cell phone from Nov. 14-17. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.