In less than a month, the Supreme Court will rule on King v. Burwell, a case that could topple the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, that would leave almost 8 million Americans unable to pay for healthcare. Chances are, however, that the average voter can’t tell you much about it.
New Morning Consult polling shows that this is gradually changing. Awareness of the legal battle has grown since oral arguments in early March, when 44 percent of voters said that they did not know or had no opinion on the core issue at stake in King v. Burwell: the legality of offering healthcare subsidies through the federal exchange.
A poll conducted in late May shows that number dropped to 37 percent.
The increase in attention came mostly from Democrats, 41 percent of whom reported having no knowledge or no opinion in February; in May, only 34 percent gave the same response. Forty-one percent of Republicans reported no awareness in February, and that figure has since dropped to 38 percent.
The case questions the intent of four words in a single statue of the ACA – that the government may issue subsidies through exchanges “established by the State” – and plaintiffs argue that the court should interpret them literally, meaning only state-run exchanges would be able to offer subsidies.
The new polling data mark a slight shift in the response of Republican voters regarding that legal interpretation. In February, 14 percent of GOP respondents said federal exchanges were initially intended to be treated like state-run exchanges under the law. Twenty-six percent now share that view.