Supreme Court Health Care Law Ruling Will Be Politically Motivated: Poll

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U.S. Health Care Policy
A new poll shows few Americans believe the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act -- whatever it turns out to be -- will have a major impact on their lives.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 10 days will consider the fate of the national health care overhaul known as the Affordable Care Act, arguably its most anticipated case in years..

Even as the justices prepare for an unusual three days of arguments on the law's second anniversary, just over half of Americans believe the legislation sometimes derided as Obamacare will be struck down by the court, according to a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The marathon session that begins March 26 will address aspects of the law beyond the key question of whether the Constitution allows the government to force Americans to buy health insurance. The justices will also consider whether the law can stand without the mandate, expansion of Medicaid eligibility and whether it's even proper for the court to hear the challenges to the insurance-purchase requirement before it takes effect in 2014.

The nonprofit, health care policy group tracked public attitudes about the law, the Supreme Court,, how the justices are expected to rule and what their decision will mean.

Court Opinions

Despite justices' efforts to maintain the high court's image as an impartial, independent arbiter of cases purely on their legal merits, Americans don't seem to be buying it.

The Kaiser foundation poll revealed a disconnect between how people think the court should handle the challenges to the Affordable Care Act and how they expect the court will adjudicate..

While more than half of those surveyed said the justices' analysis and interpretation of the law will and should play a major role toward developing a ruling, there were just as many who thought politics, too, will play a role.

Among respondents, 51 percent said the justices' liberal or conservative views will affect the case's outcome, and 50 percent expected national politics to be a major factor. Only a quarter said political leanings and the national debate should play a role in .

As for the Supreme Court's reputation as being above the fray of politics and public opinion, only 27 percent said the views of average Americans would affect how the justices rule on the upcoming case , though 50 percent said those views should count.

In The Dark On Health Care

While the 2010 still polarizes Americans, the Kaiser poll showed that health care reform as an issue isn't well understood by the public.

Of respondents, 4 in 10 were unsure if the Affordable Care Act is still law (even though most of its important provisions have yet to take effect). Fourteen percent thought the Supreme Court had already overturned the law and 28 percent said they weren't sure. Nearly a fifth of Americans said they didn't know enough about health care reform to have an opinion.

Regardless of what the court decides, few Americans believe the decision will affect their own lives much..

About half said the court's decision will have a lot of impact on the country as a whole and the future of the U.S. health care system; 43 percent said there will be some or not much impact.

On a personal level, 28 percent said the legal outcome will have a major impact on their lives and those of their family,54 percent there would be some or not much impact and 13 percent said there would be none at all.

Perhaps that can be attributed to the fact that more than half of respondents -- 59 percent -- said they needed additional information about the law to understand how they would be affected.

As to how the justices are likely to rule, 53 percent believe the individual mandate, the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act, will be found unconstitutional, with 62 percent saying some parts of the law will still be implemented.

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