The American Public and the Next Phase of the Health Care Reform Debate

By Robert J. Blendon

A paper by Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., Shorenstein Center faculty affiliate, and John M. Benson, M.A. analyzes public opinion about the Affordable Care Act, by comparing the public’s response to the Clinton health plan in the final months of the 1994 debate to perceptions about the 2008-2009 reform debate. The report concludes that “Americans’ impressions of the legislation’s likely impact on their own situation will be the most important factor in determining the level of public approval. Support for or opposition to specific elements of the legislation and concerns about the need for reform in general will be secondary influences.”

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