For the first time since the HealthCare.gov debacle, a new Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll shows a higher percentage of Americans approve of President Obama's health-care law than disapprove.
The 43 percent who approve is well within the margin of error when compared to the 42 percent who disapprove, meaning it's impossible to say whether more Americans actually approve of the law than disapprove. But the new numbers do represent a significant change from the depths of the law's flawed implementation.
Disapproval of the law peaked at 49 percent in November 2013, as HealthCare.gov stumbled to a start. Then it peaked again at 53 percent in July 2014. Although opinions of the law have been relatively constant over the long term, the new numbers are among the best since the legislation was passed in 2010. The last time a higher percentage approved than disapproved was late 2012.
The difference between now and the previous peaks, though, is that the law actually has been more fully implemented. And after that poor rollout and a series of delayed provisions, it is starting to benefit from some good news. The uninsured rate has plummeted by about one-third in just a year and a half, and the Congressional Budget Office said last month that the law will cost less than previously thought because health-care premiums are rising more slowly than projected, requiring less money in government subsidies.
And yet, even that good news for the law doesn't really seem to be penetrating. The Kaiser poll showed that just 8 percent of people knew that the law was costing less than originally estimated, compared with 50 percent who think it is costing more.
Even people who favor the legislation have it backward on this measure, with 14 percent saying it has cost less and 35 percent saying it has cost more.
Would more people support the law if they knew it was costing less than projected? Perhaps a little. But there is much more undergirding approval and disapproval of the law, including philosophical beliefs about whether the government should even be involved in health care. But it's hard to argue that the law doesn't have more room for growth.