Obamacare Subsidies: Positioning and Messaging

Report Health Care Reform

Obamacare Subsidies: Positioning and Messaging

June 15, 2015 1 min read Download Report

Authors: Mark Schreiber and Elizabeth Fender

Majority Agree with Statements on Possible Backfire If Republicans Extend Subsidies

Recent research conducted under the American Perceptions Initiative found that almost 8 in 10 voters agreed that “if the Republican-controlled Congress passes new legislation to continue the Obamacare subsidies, it sends the signal that Republicans agree that subsidies are necessary for Americans to afford health care” (77% somewhat/strongly agree). The strength of that message reinforces concerns if the subsidies are later discontinued. Two-thirds said the Republican-controlled Congress would be to “blame when the time comes to take those subsidies away from those Americans that got used to using government money to pay for health care” (67% agree).

Eliminating Mandates and Regulations Receives High Support

Emphasizing the benefit for Americans in all states garnered strong support for removing mandates and regulations. More than 7 in 10 voters agreed that “restoring subsidies helps a few million people in certain states afford costly, restrictive Obamacare plans. Removing Obamacare mandates and regulations helps tens of millions of people in all states have more affordable health care and greater options” (71% somewhat/strongly agree). Similarly, 61% of voters said Congress should “remove Obamacare’s mandates and regulations that increase the cost of health care and disrupted health care coverage for millions in the first place—making it possible for Americans in all states to choose more affordable plans” over legalizing the subsidies to help those in effected states (39%).

Supreme Court Ruling Against Subsidies Could Impact Voters’ View of Obamacare

About 6 in 10 voters agreed that a Supreme Court ruling that the federal subsidies are illegal conveyed a negative view of the law. 59% said that it would be “good evidence that the President used illegal subsidies to cover up the failures of Obamacare”, while more (63% somewhat/strongly agree) said that it would prove “once again that Obamacare is unworkable, unaffordable, and unfair.”

More Voters Think Health Care Has Not Improved for Themselves or America in the past Four Years

When asked whether their health care costs and benefits were better than they were four years ago, 53% of voters said they were not. An even larger proportion, 58%, said that health care costs, benefits, and coverage for America as a whole were not better than they were four years ago.

Messaging Tips

  • Focus on benefits for all—Removing mandates win out over providing subsidies.
  • Communicate sensitivity to those affected.

Source: Online survey using a national representative sample of 859 U.S. voters conducted June 10, 2015 with a margin of error of ±3.3%.


Mark Schreiber

Director, Strategic Marketing

Elizabeth Fender
Elizabeth Fender

Director, Marketing