MUNCIE, Ind.—Hoosiers have strong opinions of what has become known as Obamacare - President Obama's sweeping health care law that is under the scrutiny of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ball State's 2011 Hoosier Survey found that 51 percent of Indiana residents expressed an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), even though they strongly favored elements of the law.
The Supreme Court on Monday began the first of three days of historic arguments. Among other mandates, the law, signed by Obama in 2010, will prohibit insurance companies from rejecting patients with pre-existing health conditions. Its most controversial requirement is that all people obtain health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. Indiana is one of 26 states in a suit challenging the law.
The Hoosier Survey is produced annually by Ball State's Bowen Center for Public Affairs and has partnered with the university's Global Health Institute (GHI) to seek Hoosiers' opinions on health matters. Released each December, the Hoosier Survey provides Indiana lawmakers with public opinion on a variety of highly charged issues to be considered the next year.
GHI director Kerry Anne McGeary, Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics at Ball State, says Hoosiers are increasingly unhappy with ACA.
In 2010, the survey found that 48 percent of Hoosiers expressed an unfavorable view of the ACA. This increase in negative sentiment seems to have been generated from a reduction in the number of Hoosiers who reported having a mixed view of the ACA in 2010. The percentage of those reporting a having a "mixed view" of the ACA fell from 3 to 1 percent.
The Hoosier Study also found Indiana residents consider many of the individual elements of ACA important in both 2010 and 2011. During the last two years, Hoosiers said they favored making coverage affordable (97 percent), ensuring coverage for everyone (82 percent) and mandating that pre-existing conditions be accepted by all insurance companies (94 percent).
McGeary also pointed out that an interesting comparison can be made between the 2011 Hoosier Survey and a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) that released a survey of national attitudes towards the ACA in late 2011.
She said the KFF survey found 44 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the law, 7 percentage points lower than Hoosiers opposed it.
"Interestingly, the percentage of Hoosiers reporting a favorable view of the ACA - 35 percent - is similar to the national level of 37 percent," she said. "An additional interesting point to note, the KFF survey reveals that public opinion of the ACA may be a proxy for more general disillusionment with the state of the country and Washington politics."
Read the news release about the 2011 Hoosier Survey: http://www.bsu.edu/news/article/0,1370,7273-850-65525,00.html
Read the survey: http://cms.bsu.edu/Academics/CentersandInstitutes/BowenCenter/PolicyResearch/HoosierSurvey2011.aspx