Health Care Law's Insurance Mandate Will Be Struck Down by Supreme Court: Poll

 @DanRivoli on February 29 2012 4:07 PM
U.S. Health Care Policy
More Americans say the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down the insurance mandate in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. REUTERS

Americans may be split on President Barack Obama's health care law, but most agree on one thing: the mandate to buy insurance won't get by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A USA Today/Gallup poll this week said 72 percent of Americans believe the individual mandate, the centerpiece to the Affordable Care Act, is unconstitutional.

The poll comes weeks before the Supreme Court hears arguments on the Affordable Care Act March 26.

The main event for the justices is the decision on whether Congress had the constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause to institute a mandate that most Americans are covered by an insurance plan. If a majority of the justices say the mandate is unconstitutional, the court will then consider whether the entire health care law must be scrapped.

The idea that the mandate violates the constitution is shared even among many who support the law. Of those who say the mandate will be overturned, 54 believe the health care law is good policy.

Even among Democrats, a group that generally supports the law and oppose its repeal, 56 percent think the Supreme Court justices will knock the mandate down. More independents, meanwhile, hold that view, by 70 to 21 percent.

Outside the hands of the justices, the law's future is uncertain. All Republican presidential candidates want the Affordable Care Act repealed, something more Americans favor, 47 to 40 percent. But the support for repeal mainly comes from their base of GOP voters, as Democrats make up most of the opposition.

Independent voters, however, narrowly oppose GOP efforts to repeal the health care law, 47 to 43 percent.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted from Feb. 20 - 21 and surveyed 1,040 random adults, with a four percentage-point margin of error.

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