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Opinion polls: Obama's health care reform law not a winner so far

The American public expects that Obama's new health care reform law will cause costs to rise and quality of care to drop, new opinion polls find.

Kathy Dennen, of Cumberland, R.I., protests against the health care reform bill recently signed into law by President Barack Obama, during a rally in front of the Statehouse in Providence, R.I., Saturday. Public opinion polls show that new health care reform law is widely expected to degrade health care and increase costs.

Gretchen Ertl/AP

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Congress has spoken, and now the people have spoken: In polls released this week, Americans say they are not pleased with the healthcare reforms enacted by President Obama and congressional lawmakers.

Voters worry the new law will erode the quality of care and jack up costs, even while it helps reduce the number of people unable to get health insurance.

The new polls suggest that Democrats still have a big sales job ahead of them as November House and Senate elections draw closer, and as Americans try to learn more about what the law means for them (see "Healthcare Reform 101").

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama signed the second portion of the healthcare reform package, the so-called "reconciliation" that contains elements not in the original Senate legislation. As the president continues a public-relations campaign for the reforms, the polls taken since the House voted on March 21 don't all line up against him. But skepticism about the new law is sizable on several fronts:

Costs. Some 55 percent of Americans expect their own costs for healthcare to be higher because of the reforms, and 60 percent say the nation's overall health tab will rise, according to a Washington Post poll. Only 16 percent predict that medical spending in the US will be lower because of the law. Separately, a USA Today/Gallup poll found 64 percent saying the law "will cost the government too much."

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