The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Americans' Support for Health Care Reform and Policy Sustainability

Award Year:
Suzanne Mettler
Health Reform
The sustainability of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will depend not only on its economic, legal, and administrative feasibility or the stance of political elites but also on how the new law itself, as implementation unfolds, gradually influences citizens' attitudes about health care reform and affects their support for future changes. Over the next several years, Americans lived experiences of the law and their observations of its impact on their families and communities may alter their attitudes about it, fostering greater support or opposition, and it may generate new constituencies that will mobilize on its behalf, or inadvertently, it may activate opponents. This project will examine how the ACA affects citizens' attitudes about health care policy and their participation in the policy process before, during, and after the law's major provisions are scheduled to go into effect. The analysis will consider how changes in political behavior are affected by the impact of the law's provisions on particular groups of Americans, depending on age, income, and other factors, and also by the extent to which its effects are perceived, depending on the visibility of its components. If the law makes the public more supportive of expansions or of repeal, such effects will influence its sustainability and the contours of the next round of health care reform in the United States. The project feature a longitudinal study and in-depth, qualitative interviews with a smaller number of individuals.