Americans Want Congress To Move On From Trying To ‘Repeal And Replace’ Obamacare

A new poll shows that most Americans want Republicans want to move on from their failed effort to 'repeal and replace' the Affordable Care Act.

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

A new Reuters poll reveals that voters want Congress to move beyond the issue that has taken up the majority of the time in the House and Senate over the past three months or so:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare reform at this point after the U.S. Senate’s effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Saturday.

Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and a majority of Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the survey found.

Republicans have vowed to dismantle the Affordable Care Act since Democratic President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, and it appeared they finally had their chance when Republican President Donald Trump took office in January. But the law, which helped 20 million people obtain health insurance, has steadily grown more popular.

The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either “entirely as is” or after fixing “problem areas.” That is up from 54 percent in January.

The survey found that support for the law still runs along party lines, with nine out of 10 Democrats and just three out of 10 Republicans saying they wanted to keep or modify Obamacare.

Among Republicans, three-fourths said they would like their party’s leaders to try to repeal and replace Obamacare at some point, though most listed other issues that they would give a higher priority right now.

Disappointment among Republicans and happiness among Democrats about the repeal’s failure were palpable. Two-thirds of Republicans felt “bad” that the Senate failed to pass a healthcare bill, while three-fourths of Democrats felt “good,” according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

When asked what they think Congress should do next, most Americans picked other priorities such as tax reform, foreign relations and infrastructure. Only 29 percent said they wanted Republicans in Congress to “continue working on a new healthcare bill.”

This new poll comes out at the same time that Politico is reporting that, notwithstanding last week’s defeat, Republicans still don’t seem to be giving up on the push to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act:

Senate Republicans’ party-line attempts to repeal Obamacare aren’t dead just yet — at least not if President Donald Trump has anything to say about it.

Trump, increasingly impatient with the long-stalled repeal effort, met with three Senate Republicans about a new plan to roll back the health care law on Friday, signaling some lawmakers — as well as the president — are not ready to ditch their seven-year campaign promise.

The group is trying to write legislation that could get 50 Republican votes, according to multiple administration and Capitol Hill sources. The proposal from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) would block grant federal health care funding to the states and keep much of Obamacare’s tax regime. White House officials also met with House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) to brainstorm how to make the idea palatable to conservatives, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.

The White House-health care huddle came just hours before Trump savaged Senate Republicans in a series of Saturday tweets for failing to repeal Obamacare. If the Senate doesn’t pass a bill soon, Trump warned, he may halt Obamacare payments subsidizing health plans for low-income individuals — an idea adamantly opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Trump also appeared to take a personal shot at lawmakers, seemingly warning that he could revoke their own health benefits on the exchanges.

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon.


In theory, the Senate could bring back up their party line budget “reconciliation” effort to gut Obamacare as soon as next week. Graham’s bill has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office and did not receive a test vote this week. It currently has a small group of supporters and will likely need major work to pass the Senate, like language defunding Planned Parenthood which would likely alienate a pair of moderate senators.

Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Dean Heller of Nevada joined Graham at the White House on Friday, and each has joined Graham’s bill as the new alternative plan for Republicans. The bill’s supporters are telling administration officials and congressional aides that the bill will score far better than previous efforts, which CBO analyses project would cause millions more uninsured people and short-term spikes in premiums.

“I had a great meeting with the President and know he remains fully committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare. President Trump was optimistic about the Graham-Cassidy-Heller proposal. I will continue to work with President Trump and his team to move the idea forward.,” Graham said late Friday.

One complicating factor for Senate Republicans is the fact that, after casting the decisive vote that finally killed the so-called “skinny repeal” bill that signified the Senate’s last-ditch effort to pass something on health care, Senator John McCain has returned to Arizona to begin the regimen of radiation and chemotherapy necessitated by his recent diagnosis of brain cancer. It’s not at all clear when he’ll be physically able to return to Washington, and this means that Senate Majority leader can only count on 51 votes for any given piece of legislation for the foreseeable future, which means that he could only afford to lose one member of his caucus before it would become impossible to get a bill passed outside of the unlikely event of a Democratic defection. As things stand, the results of last weeks voting showed us that the number of Senators willing to vote against their party depending on what’s in a particular bill is most certainly more than one. Additionally, even if they could agree on something that would pass the Senate, that bill would still need to be approved by the House of Representatives, something that proved difficult when the House itself was dealing with health care reform earlier this year.

In addition to the difficulties of getting anything through the Senate or House, there are a whole host of things on the schedule for both chambers of Congress, many of which need to be accomplished by the end of September if we are to avoid a government shutdown. Primarily, of course, there’s the impending deadline for Congress to pass the bills necessary to authorize spending in the Fiscal Year that begins on October 1st. Without such authorization, we’ll end up in the same kind of budget shutdown scenario that became reality for sixteen days in October 2013. In addition to that, although somewhat related, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has been repeatedly warning Congress that it needs to get around to raising the debt ceiling to avoid a situation where his department is unable to continue issuing debt to pay for mandatory spending such as interest on the national debt and entitlement programs as well as all the other things that Congress has authorized the Federal Government to spend money on. Most recently, Mnuchin has advised Congress that they must act on the debt ceiling by September 29th. Finally, there are a whole host of nominations to Executive Branch positions, Ambassadorial positions, and Judicial nominations that the Senate needs to deal with, although Majority Leader McConnell has indicated he intends to schedule votes on many of those nominations for the two weeks that he cut off the August recess, assuming that the Senate is really going to stay in session during that time given what happened with health care. All of this has to be dealt with before the House and Senate can move on to other issues, such as the tax reform ideas that members of both chambers have been talking about for months now. Given all of that, perhaps Republcians on Capitol Hill need to listen to what the polls are saying and more on from health care for now.



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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. teve tory says:

    Americans Want Congress To Move On From Trying To ‘Repeal And Replace’ Obamacare

    Mitch McConnell and 94% of GOP senators just told you they don’t give a shit.

    The US is an oligarchy, study concludes

    The US government does not represent the interests of the majority of the country’s citizens, but is instead ruled by those of the rich and powerful, a new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has concluded.

    The report, entitled Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens, used extensive policy data collected from between the years of 1981 and 2002 to empirically determine the state of the US political system.

    After sifting through nearly 1,800 US policies enacted in that period and comparing them to the expressed preferences of average Americans (50th percentile of income), affluent Americans (90th percentile) and large special interests groups, researchers concluded that the United States is dominated by its economic elite.

    The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”


  2. gVOR08 says:

    most Americans picked other priorities such as tax reform

    A grammar note for Reuters – given that there are Republican majorities this is correctly rendered as “tax reform (sic)”, “tax cuts”, or less formally “so called tax reform”.

  3. Tony W says:

    Americans can “want” anything they wish – but until we start holding elected representatives responsible for representing us, they’ll do as their corporate paymasters instruct.

  4. Tyrell says:

    There are millions of people who are in what one insurance agent called the “Dead Zone” of the Affordable Care Act: they can’t afford the monthly charge and do not qualify for a subsidy. These people are forgotten.
    “It’s just crazy” (Bill Clinton)
    Anthem insurance has pulled out of Ohio. “This could be the tip of the iceberg”. Well, AETNA, Human, and United have already pulled out of many states.
    The plan’s key element was having a lot of young, healthy, working people sign up. That did not happen. So the plan is losing money hand over foot.

    “I see a bad moon rising ..I see trouble on the way” (CCR)

  5. Mikey says:

    @Tony W: We could start by fixing our electoral systems so the makeup of Congress is actually representative of the whole body of voters.

    I know, dream on…

  6. Kylopod says:

    I can’t even begin to predict what comes next. The last few months have been like Groundhog Day, the same damn things happening over and over again: Congress comes up with a monstrosity it calls “Obamacare repeal,” the CBO exposes the devastating effects it will have on the population, a handful of Republicans start complaining about it being either too cruel or not cruel enough, the Congressional leaders declare the bill dead, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and there’s a round of pundit gloating, and then…Trump goes off on one of his Twitter tantrums (twantrums?) and in a couple of days they’re trying again and the Congress members who previously put up a fuss start to cave. It wouldn’t shock me at all if I wake up tomorrow and find them going for a new round of this.

  7. teve tory says:

    The public hates it, hospitals hate it, doctors hate it, insurance companies hate it, and even GOP governors hate it, GOP senators demanded assurances that if they passed it the House wouldn’t, but 94% of GOP senators voted for it anyway.

    Bobby Jindal was only half-right. They’re the Party of Stupid Assholes.

  8. michael reynolds says:


    “Dead Zone” of the Affordable Care Act: they can’t afford the monthly charge and do not qualify for a subsidy. These people are forgotten.

    They are forgotten, Tyrell, by the people YOU support. We’ve been ready since forever to make adjustments to Obamacare, to plug holes like these. Do you actually not understand that?

  9. Bob@Youngstown says:


    Anthem insurance has pulled out of Ohio.

    To be precise Anthem has decided to not offer any plans on the SUBSIDIZED market in Ohio. According to the OH Insurance commission and Anthem, you can buy the exact same policies off-exchange (ergo without subsidy).

    It should seem obvious why Anthem would do this, with the President threatening to renege on the subsidy payment arrangement. Anthem could be faced with cancelling insurance coverage for subsidized enrollees as soon as Aug 2017. (The Trump administration would not assure that they will make the Aug subsidy payment – Tom Price on 7/30/17)

    Trump is working bigly to the destabilize the individual market in hopes that insurers will be afraid of the subsidized market, causing a collapse.

  10. KM says:

    @teve tory :
    The GOP keeps tapdancing on that high wire expecting someone to have set up the safety net. These constituents hate taking away healthcare but these demands a repeal to the hellish demon we’ve made of ACA while these want to watch libs burn and don’t care who’s caught in the bonfire. They dance their stupid little routine that pleases no one, all the while expecting to eventually fall and be caught in the net since somebody sane has to have put it there, right? Right?

    Repeal can’t pass – it’s the worst thing to happen to their coffers in some time when those donations stop rolling in as protest. Keeping ACA can’t happen – the bomb-throwers will target them next. They can’t come up with anything better – too many masters to please. Their only hope is to keep on dancing till the Dems get power back and restring the safety net, allowing for pointless and safe repeal votes to happen again.

  11. rachel says:


    Trump goes off on one of his Twitter tantrums (twantrums?)


  12. Joe says:


    The simple solution is for Trump, perhaps with assistance from Jerad and Ivanka just to draft up the fabulous replacement he has concluded that the Senate is unable to understand. You know, the “beautiful” plan that will cover everybody for less. (I mean, Senators are not mind readers.) Then he wouldn’t have to bother calling the Senate losers. He could just do the work of the American people and fix it. I don’t know why Trump or his White House aids haven’t thought of this. Maybe I will call and suggest it.

  13. Gromitt Gunn says:

    And Senator Collins is getting spontaneous rounds of applause back home in Maine.


  14. Kylopod says:

    @Joe: I wrote this earlier today at Jonathan Bernstein’s blog, but it took me a while to fully articulate: “Obamacare repeal” has always meant many different things to many different people, but one thing all the attempts have in common is that they propose changes that Democrats hate. That’s the ultimate smell test. If Dems start to like (or at least find tolerable) what the GOP is selling, it will automatically lose its appeal to the rank-and-file.

    That’s probably the one thing Trump understands about the issue. He hasn’t got a clue about health-care policy, but he’s got the right-wing resentment thing down to a tee, which was always far more about symbolism than policy. It’s something conservative NeverTrumpers missed when they predicted Trump would govern as a liberal. They were correct in discerning that Trump has no ideological commitments, that he’s not a “conservative” in any meaningful philosophical sense, but what they failed to grasp is that none of that has been what has fueled the right in this country for decades.

  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: And yet, the guys who have been charged by the nation with solving the problem–Trump and the GOP–have no idea on where to start. It’s almost as if they had no intention of ever solving the problem even though they’ve been running on solving it for 3 Congressional Terms and two Presidential elections. They’ve been smoke and mirroring guys like you with the drivel that you proceed to parrot for them continually. And when we get you to suggest what you think would be better, you suggest the elements of Obamacare claiming them to be improvements on Obamacare. Either that or some blather like your comment today. And half the nation still thinks that Trump even gives a shirt about the problem.

    “When the President goes to the White House door and does what he says he’ll do/We’ll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up and eating that rainbow stew.” (your man Merle)

  16. Doug says:

    The American people want to move on from obamacare, not because they prefere it, but because they know that Republicans LIED to them, and know they will get nothing done as it is till the Squishes are primaried, or until there is no choike but for everyone else to suffer as they do.

    This isn’t an acceptence, it’s a temporary ENDURANCE! Because “hero’s” like McCain.”

  17. DrDaveT says:


    The American people want to move on from obamacare, not because they prefere it, but because they know that Republicans LIED to them

    Oddly, I think you’re right.

    Americans DO prefer Obamacare, but too many of them don’t realize that. If you poll them on individual provisions of Obamacare, they like them all (except the mandate). If you label it “Obamacare”, the conditioned reflex against the name kicks in.

    So the challenge for Democrats is to take advantage of the current dissatisfaction with GOP fecklessness and teach people some facts about what the alternatives to an Obamacare-style system are, why most of them suck, and what could be done to make the system we have Even Better (TM).