Just as the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period begins, Gallup is reporting historically low support for the law from the American people.
Gallup's new survey, just out today, finds 56% of Americans surveyed disapprove of Obamacare, the highest number ever, while 37% of Americans say they approve of the law, one percentage point below the previous low in January.
First survey following mid-term elections
This survey is the first following the recent midterm elections, in which Republicans won full control of both houses of Congress.
Party leaders have begun discussing efforts to repeal the law. Given President Obama's veto power, repeal is unlikely, but waning support among average Americans could potentially have an impact on its future.
The president has acknowledged he will consider modifications to the law, which could include repealing the tax on medical devices.
Biggest recent dip
As far as some recent historical context (see the graph below), Gallup says the most recent noticeable dip in ACA approval came one year ago. This was shortly after millions of Americans received notices their current policies were being canceled, in direct contrast with claims made by the government that those who liked their plans could keep them.
The president later amended those claims, saying Americans could keep their plans if those plans didn't change after the ACA was passed.
Approval of the law continues to sharply follow part lines. Nearly three-fourths of Democrats approve of it, but only 8% of Republicans.
The ACA website had some well-publicized setbacks last fall, but government officials say they have greater optimism for the usability and functionality and expect a successful open enrollment period. That may not do much however to boost the approval ratings.
ACA "Architect" role is debated
Meanwhile, President Obama spent part of the weekend trying to play down the involvement of Dr. Jonathan Gruber in the crafting of the ACA legislation.
Gruber is an MIT professor and public policy wonk who was called by many in the press, including in this article I wrote for Staffing Talk, "the architect of Obamacare."
He made news headlines recently when videotaped remarks surfaced where he said the Affordable Care Act passed only because of a “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter.”
On Sunday, President Obama was trying to distance his administration from Gruber.
“The fact that an adviser who was never on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is not a reflection on the actual process that was run,” said the president according to The Washington Post.
The paper said is might be overstating things to call Gruber an “architect” of the law, but he "was also no ordinary adviser."
He was reportedly paid between $400,000 and $6 million for his work on the federal legislation and the state exchanges.