More than 70 percent of Americans know nothing or next to nothing about the looming Supreme Court decision that could strip health insurance subsidies away from millions of people. That's according to the latest montly survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And when they found out about it, via this survey, a very large majority of 63 percent says Congress should fix it.
With the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on whether subsidies are available to those in states without their own state-based marketplaces, most of the public continues to say they have not heard much about the case. About 7 in 10 say they’ve heard only a little (28 percent) or nothing at all (44 percent) about the case. Fourteen percent say they’ve heard something about it and 13 percent say they’ve heard a lot about the case. These shares are slightly higher than late last year when the Supreme Court announced they would take the case and earlier this year when the Court heard arguments, but still most say they haven't heard much about the case.
When asked how Congress should respond if the Supreme Court rules that financial help to buy health insurance is only available to low and moderate income people in states with state-run marketplaces, about 6 in 10 (63 percent) say Congress should pass a law so that people in all states can be eligible for financial help from the government while about a quarter (26 percent) say Congress should not act on the issue. About 1 in 10 (12 percent) say they don't know how Congress should respond. Majorities of Democrats (80 percent) and independents (66 percent) say that Congress should pass a law, while Republicans are divided with 38 percent saying they think Congress should pass a law and half (49 percent) saying Congress shouldn't act on the issue.
Among those in the potentially affected states, 55 percent say their state should create its own marketplace if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. A third (32 percent) say their state should not, and 13 percent say they don’t know. Majorities of Democrats and independents in federal marketplace states support their state creating its own exchange, while Republicans in these states are divided.
So most Americans believe that subsidies should be restored if the Supreme Court strikes them down, even though the law overall is still unpopular—39 percent of respondents like the law, 42 percent have an unfavorable opinion of it. If the unhappy event actually occurs, you can expect some shifts in those number, except for the ever present third of the population that is Republican dead-enders who still think George W. Bush was a fine president. The problem is, that's the thirty percent that is controlling the House GOP, the only people who count, so far.
When the decision lands, if it's bad it's gonna be bad for everyone. Even House members in the deepest tea party districts are going to be hearing from at least a few constituents. And they're all going to be hearing from the Republican senators running for re-election in the 2016 battleground states.