Despite the Affordable Care Act exceeding its enrollment goals, Americans’ view on the law remains unchanged and a majority believe enrollment fell short of expectations.

A monthly tracking poll of 1,504 adults conducted April 15-21 — after open enrollment closed — by Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that 54% believe enrollment fell short of the government’s expectations, while 21% believe it met expectations. Further, just 43% were able to identify that almost 8 million people have signed up for coverage.

Compared to the March tracking poll, conducted while open enrollment was still in action, Americans’ view of the law remains unchanged with 46% of the public having a unfavorable view and 38% a favorable view. Along party lines, three-quarters of Republicans have an unfavorable view as compared to two-thirds of Democrats viewing it favorably.

“Even though the news about 8 million exchange enrollments seems to have broken through for a lot of people, their views of whether that represents a success or not are still strongly tied to partisanship and how they feel about the law overall,” explains Liz Hamel, Kaiser’s director of public opinion and survey research, in an e-mail. “Most people say they haven’t felt any direct impacts of the ACA yet themselves, and so their views at this point are based more on what they’re seeing and hearing in the media than on their own personal experiences.”

Overall, more than half (57%) say that there have been so many problems since the law’s rollout that it’s clear ACA is not working as planned, while 38% say the law is basically working as planned. The other 5% is believed neither/didn’t know/or refused to answer.


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