Poll: Americans still split on government's role in health care

Compared with today, Americans were more widely inclined to say ensuring healthcare coverage is a federal responsibility between 2000 and 2008, with majorities of 54% to 69% saying this. But as President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was debated and implemented, the issue became politicized, leading to a nearly even division on the question from 2009 to 2011.

By 2012, sentiment against healthcare being a government responsibility swelled to 54%, and it remained the majority view through 2014. But last year’s poll found Americans shifting more toward the view that the government should ensure all have healthcare, and this holds today.

When asked if they would prefer a government-run healthcare system or a system based on private insurance, majorities of Americans have consistently said they prefer a private system.