Public Priorities and Next Steps for the Affordable Care Act

The Public’s Priorities and Next Steps for the Affordable Care Act

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll – January 2018

Computer-assisted telephone interviews conducted by landline and cell phone were carried out in English and Spanish by SSRS


  • Health care is at the top of a group of issues that voters want 2018 midterm candidates to talk about, but it’s a much higher priority for Democratic voters (39 percent) and independent voters (32 percent) than Republican voters (13 percent); and a lower priority than other issues among voters living in areas where there are competitive 2018 House, Senate, or Governor races.
  • The current debate in Congress is about passing a budget to keep the government funded beyond February 8, 2018, in return for a deal on immigration policy and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Providing federal funding for President Trump’s plan to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico ranks the lowest (21 percent) among the public’s priorities for the president and Congress, well behind other health-related priorities as well as passing DACA legislation. Passing federal funding for a border wall is tied for fourth (of eight priorities) among Republicans (43 percent).
  • As Congress continues to work on a federal budget, some lawmakers have suggested making cuts to government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. This poll finds that language can matter in framing questions about government spending on such programs. About one in ten say they want to see Congress decrease spending on Medicare (7 percent) and Medicaid (12 percent). When the public is asked about government spending using broader terminology like “welfare programs” or “entitlement programs” rather than a specific name, larger shares of the public say they want to see spending decrease (32 percent and 27 percent, respectively).