Support for universal healthcare program grows, poll finds

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White House proposes 'accelerated' skilled nursing facility payment cuts
White House proposes 'accelerated' skilled nursing facility payment cuts

Residents of Massachusetts are increasingly supportive of the state's 2006 universal healthcare law, lending belief to the idea that the national Affordable Care Act will gain more public support over time.

In the five years since the law was enacted, public approval of the Massachusetts program has grown, according to a poll conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and The Boston Globe. The newspaper and the Harvard group first polled residents in 2008. In the two years between the polls, public support grew 10% to 63%.

The one part of the Massachusetts law that residents dislike is the requirement that residents purchase individual health insurance or face a fine, which also has been a sticking point of the Affordable Care Act. Still, in Massachusetts 51% of residents support the mandate as a whole, The Boston Globe reported. When asked whether they thought a national healthcare plan should have been modeled after the Massachusetts model, responses fell along party lines, with 47% saying it should not have been the model and 43% responding that it should have been. The plan was signed into law by then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a 2012 presidential contender.

Healthcare policy specialists told The Boston Globe that support for the Massachusetts plan could bode well for President Obama. The Affordable Care Act has several components related to long-term care, including the CLASS Act, which provides long-term and disability insurance for seniors and disabled individuals. The ACA also expands Medicaid coverage to more people and proposes an independent payment board to help set Medicare rates.