Abstract

Since the 1930s, US politicians have argued about whether healthcare should be the responsibility of the federal government. Both major political parties have cited public opinion concerning Americans’ support for or rejection of government provision of healthcare to support their position. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, however, the political debate has changed. Where it had been about the government provision of healthcare as an abstract principle, it became a debate imbued with evaluations of the implementation of the ACA itself. This spawned a new line of research examining the consequences of the ACA’s implementation on public attitudes toward government provision of healthcare. The change in support for government provision of healthcare and the new post-ACA research highlight a need for a long-term examination of trends in support over the past two decades that will provide context for the new studies. This study provides that examination.

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