Americans’ approval of the Affordable Care Act reached its apex in December 2017, the Pew Research Center found. The proportion of people approving the ACA has been growing since the middle of 2016, now at 56% of the public.

The timing of this survey, conducted at the end of November and first few days of December 2017, coincides with Congress’s arm-wrestling a tax bill that would eliminate the individual mandate for health insurance which is an ACA building block for universal coverage in the United States.

Most people in the U.S. also believe that the ACA has had a positive impact on the nation, at a margin of 44% positive versus 35% negative impact.

Looking at the demographics of who feels positive about the law, shown in the second chart, reveals that more women than men approve of the ACA (61% versus 50%); more people of color versus whites, who are split 47/47; and, younger people under 50 versus older folks.

There continues to be a huge chasm between Democrats and Republicans on how members of each party view the law. More Democrats have come to appreciate Obamacare more today, now at 85% of Democrats approving of the ACA. However, the proportion of Republicans approving the ACA remains flat at 14%.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Will yesterday’s election of Doug Jones to represent the State of Alabama as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate change the dynamic for the GOP’s tax bill to pass or fail? Vox presented the argument this morning for a tax bill #fail.

Dropping the individual mandate for health insurance would leave 13 million fewer Americans out of health insurance, the CBO calculated, with even more health plan premium increases on Americans seeking coverage.

There are additional health care access challenges that Congress has yet to resolve, namely the re-authorization funding CHIP for children’s health, and funding Federal Qualified Health Centers that cover safety net populations who do not have health insurance.

More Americans are aware of these cracks in U.S. health citizens’ coverage, thus building up more support for the ACA that Pew’s research learned.

At 2017, Americans find a nation facing a new year of health policy chaos and under-funding. With dreams of cancer moonshots, precision medicine, and the promise of AI for improving healthcare, we must ensure the basic human needs of health coverage, access to primary care, nutritious food, and a basic list of drugs. These are what I wish for every American’s Christmas stocking to hold.

For now, the only certainty is the equivalent of a health care lump of coal.