Majority Of Americans Oppose Republican Health Care Bill According To New Poll
A new poll shows that a majority of Americans oppose the American Health Care Act, the bill recently passed Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:
A new poll shows significant resistance to Republicans’ plans on health care and tax reform — and that majorities disapprove of the way President Donald Trump has handled those policy fights.
The poll, released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, found that just 21% of American voters approve of House Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, while 56% oppose it.
The poll also found that a wide majority oppose a key plank of the GOP health care plan — allowing states to weaken coverage protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
According to the poll, 64% approve of the Obamacare provision that prevents health insurance companies from charging people more for pre-existing conditions.
And 75% say it’s a “bad idea” to allow states to decide whether individuals with pre-existing conditions can be charged more — including 59% of Republicans.
Overall, Trump is deeply underwater regarding his handling of the health care fight — 66% disapprove, while 28% approve.
Aaron Blake of The Washington Post takes a deeper look at the numbers:
Even with the changes that won over conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus and got the bill passed with the slimmest of majorities last week, just 48 percent of Republicans approve of it. About 16 percent disapprove, and 36 percent are undecided. Only 21 percent of Republicans approve of the bill strongly, which is remarkable for something that all but 20 House Republicans signed off on.
Another ominous sign for the GOP’s 2018 election hopes is the disapproval among independents, who oppose the bill 60 percent to 18 percent. Nearly half (48 percent) disapprove strongly, while just 9 percent approve strongly. Again, that’s 5-to-1 against on the enthusiasm measure.
It’s possible that this poll winds up being worse than others for the bill. But unless the poll is vastly skewed, this bill is a political loser the likes of which we’ve rarely seen pass any chamber of Congress.
This bill, of course, will change as the Senate takes it up. And it seemed the goal for the House was more to pass something to move the process forward than anything else.
But this is the framework under which the Senate process begins. This is the bill the American people are familiar with right now, and convincing them that any updates are going to be marked improvements is going to be hugely difficult.
In a lot of ways, this was predictable. Obamacare is something of an entitlement program, in that it provides subsidies and benefits for Americans that they didn’t have before — things such as the mandate for covering preexisting conditions. Messing with those government benefits is hugely difficult politically, because it means taking something away from people.
What this means, of course, is that Congressional and Senate Republicans are faced with something of a conflict when it comes to how to proceed on the health care issue. On the one hand, if they don’t at least make an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act then they risk alienating their own base and facing the consequences of that at election time. For seven years now, Republicans have run campaigns and won elections based on the promise that they would do just that, and it was a central part of the campaigns of both of the two most recent Republican nominees for President. This is one of the reasons why you saw the Republican-controlled House of Representatives engage in the seemingly pointless act of voting on an Obamacare repeal bill that would only die in the Senate so many times. Most of those times, the purpose of the vote wasn’t to actually accomplish anything legislatively but to provide political cover to members back home. The same was true last year when the House and Senate, now both controlled by Republicans, passed a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act that was predictably vetoed by President Obama even though they didn’t have the votes in either chamber to override a veto. Once again, it was about proving to the base that they could pass a repeal bill and saving incumbents from a possible challenge from the right, as well as to motivate the base in the upcoming Presidential election.
Now, though, the Republican Party finds itself on the spot. They control both chambers of Congress and the White House, and the base is looking to them to follow through with the ‘repeal and replace’ promise rather than just going through the motions as they were able to from 2011 through 2016. This is one of the reasons why the House moved so quickly on this bill rather than taking time with it as the Democrats did with the PPACA in 2009 and 2010. Now that they’ve voted on a bill, though, Republicans find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, failure to pass something and get it to the President’s desk is likely to anger a significant portion of the GOP base and could result in either a challenge from the right in the primaries in 2018 or lower turnout by Republican voters in battleground districts in the General Election. On the other hand, as this poll shows, and as previous polling shows, the broader electorate isn’t exactly thrilled with the alternative that the GOP has come up with, particularly when it come to popular provisions of the PPACA and the prospect that millions of people could lose their health insurance. That opposition is only likely to increase when the Congressional Budget Office comes out with its score of the revised bill that the House voted on later this month. Perhaps the House GOP is hoping that their colleagues in the Senate will save them from this particular dilemma by being unable to come up with a bill that can pass both chambers, but even that possibility is fraught with danger due to the still-existant expectations of the base that Republicans on Capitol Hill will make good on a promise that has been the basis for millions of votes and millions of dollars in contributions for the past eight years. Conversely, polling like this indicates that if they do support repeal that the generl public doesn’t like then it could end up coming back to hurt them in a General Election. How Republicans handle this dilemma going forward is going to go a long way toward dictating the script of the 2018 elections.