Americans remain torn over reform

Most like pre-existing provision

Americans’ views on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continue to track along party lines, even among those who say they’ve personally been affected by the controversial health care overhaul, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.

According to the poll of more than 2,500 adults conducted earlier this month, 31 percent said they want the entire law repealed, 27 percent want to keep the PPACA in its entirety and 22 percent want to keep only parts of it. Similar to other polls, attitudes fall closely along party affiliations: Most Republicans (63 percent) favor repeal while many Democrats (49 percent) want to keep all of the law or just tweak parts of it (19 percent).

The findings come just days before Election Day, in which health care and Medicare are among the top issues affecting voter outcome. The PPACA has been President Obama's signature piece of legislation; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he will work to repeal and replace the law.

[See "Obama vs. Romney: How they differ on health care issues"]

Still, large majorities across the political spectrum said they hope some of the law’s provisions stay intact. For instance, 70 percent of those surveyed said they want to keep the rule that prevents insurers from denying health coverage based on pre-existing conditions—up from 64 percent in 2010, when the law was signed by Obama.

Still not popular among Americans is the individual mandate. More than half (55 percent) oppose it, roughly the same as two years ago.

Other key provisions have been gaining some acceptance more recently. Another popular provision, allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance plans until they turn 26, has been a main talking point in the health reform debate.

In June, prior to the ruling, insurance giants UnitedHealth Group, Humana and Aetna said they would keep that provision—and some other popular parts of Obama’s health overhaul—even if the Supreme Court killed the law. In September, Romney said both that provision and the pre-existing provision would stay in place even if he repealed the entire law, if elected.

“This survey indicates that many people can have different attitudes to the forest—the big picture—and to the trees—the specifics,” Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor says.

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