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Good Enough for Government WorkThe Public Reputation Crisis in America (And What We Can Do to Fix It)$
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Amy E. Lerman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226630175

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226630342.001.0001

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The Role of Reputation in a Polarized Policy Domain

The Role of Reputation in a Polarized Policy Domain

(p.116) Six The Role of Reputation in a Polarized Policy Domain
Good Enough for Government Work

Amy E. Lerman

University of Chicago Press

This chapter argues that when citizens lose confidence in government, they are likely to make use of public programs only when a private service provider is either unavailable or unaffordable. To illustrate, this chapter examines support for recent healthcare reform. Not surprisingly, both party and ideology are highly predictive of public attitudes toward the ACA. However, even accounting for political partisanship and other factors, citizens’ beliefs about the general efficiency and competence of government are significant determinants of whether individuals support or oppose the government’s health reform package. In fact, simply emphasizing the public aspects of the ACA, as opposed to stressing the role of private insurers or public-private partnerships, decreases support among those who hold more negative views of government. Importantly, it also decreases the extent to which individuals express interest in making use of the health insurance marketplaces that the ACA made available.

Keywords:   Affordable Care Act, public opinion, policy uptake, privatization

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