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Health care reform law gaining popularity

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Regardless of political affiliation, opposition to the 2010 health care reform law has dropped, according to a new survey.

The poll, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that in April 43% of respondents had a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, while 42% had an unfavorable view and 14% didn't know.

By contrast, in January 2014, 50% of respondents had an unfavorable view of the law, while just 34% had a favorable view and 16% didn't know.

Support for the law surged among respondents who said they were Democrats. For example, last month 70% of respondents who said they were Democrats said they had a favorable view of the health care reform law, while just 16% had an unfavorable view, and 14% didn't know.

That's a big pickup in support compared to January 2014 when 58% of Democratic respondents had a favorable view of the law, 26% had an unfavorable view, and 15% didn't know.

While Republicans still overwhelmingly have an unfavorable view of the law, opposition has declined since 2014.

For example, last month, 75% of respondents who said they were Republicans said they had an unfavorable view of the law, while 16% had a favorable view, and 9% didn't know.

By contrast, in January 2014, 81% of GOP respondents said they had an unfavorable view of the law, while 9% had a favorable view, and 10% didn't know.

The pickup in support for the law coincides with a big improvement in a key feature of the law: the creation of public insurance exchanges in which lower-income individuals can use federal premium subsidies to purchase coverage.

In January 2014, many of the exchanges were still suffering from technology-related problems that made it difficult for applicants to smoothly choose from exchange plans and obtain coverage.

Today, those problems, observers say, have largely eased. During the latest 2015 open enrollment season, nearly 11.7 million people selected plans in the federal and state health insurance exchanges, the U.S. Department of Health and Services reported In March, a big jump over last year's open enrollment season when just over 8 million opted for exchange coverage.

In all, 14.1 million previously uninsured adults have gained coverage due to the health care reform law since October 2013, HHS said.

The Kaiser polls are conducted by telephone and have between 1,200 and 1,500 respondents.