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.


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.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Health Care, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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.


  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    You mean that the majority of Americans don’t want to throw millions off insurance, and deny coverage to pre-existing conditions, so that rich folks can get a massive tax cut???

  2. Slugger says:

    The impression I got of the House bill is that it was something rushed through to achieve a political victory and get the word “Obama” out of our healthcare lexicon. The issues that I see is that American healthcare is very expensive-a letter in my local newspaper today was from a man whose wife broke her leg generating a bill for $48,000-while not providing better than mediocre results. My wife had a colonoscopy last month, and we were billed $97 for the sedatives she got which can’t have cost the hospital more than one dollar. You can all recount similar stories. At the same time 5-10% of our population is not covered. The bill lower the rich people tax surcharge and appears to withdraw benefits from some populations. The full impact is unclear because this was done before a CBO analysis. In short, to me this looks like a political football without addressing problems I care about.

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    Are libertarians in the 56% or the 21%?

  4. MarkedMan says:

    The modern Republican Party, also known as the Party of Lies, once again find themselves holding their own gun with the barrel pointed the wrong way. For the better part of a decade they have lied repeatedly about Obamacare and promised their replacement would cover more people, cost less for the insured, and cost less for the government, while letting you keep your own doctor, no pre-existing conditions clause, no life time cap, and on and on. The longer Obamacare existed the better their fantasy plan would be. And, let’s face facts, it’s not just the public that was fooled into thinking this was possible. The modern Republican Party does not attract candidates who are the sharpest pencils in the pack. It does not attract keen analytical minds. It does not attract people who are capable of understanding how things actually work. Listening to some of these town halls, as the Reps blabber out nonsense only to be shouted down by meeting attendees who actually know the score, it seems apparent the Reps believed what their leadership told them – things like the pre-existing condition clause is still in there, that the 50-65 years olds aren’t going to get absolutely hosed. These are not stellar minds and when their leadership told them something they didn’t have a clue or the staff necessary to understand they were being lied to.

  5. Pete S says:

    Part of me (an evil part) thinks that the safest play for Democrats to actually protect the PPACA would have been for Chuck Schumer to come out right before the House vote and say “we hate the bill that is before the House and will not vote for it, but if really is the will of the people we won’t get in the way of it passing the Senate”. Would the Republicans who voted for it with the confidence that the Senate would protect them by blocking the bill, have really cast the votes?

  6. Scott says:

    With everybody else talking about coverage and pre-existing conditions, I have chosen to hammer on the tax cuts. I ask: “what is the purpose of these tax cuts? How do these tax cuts lower premiums and deductibles” How do these tax cut give me more choice?, etc. Also mention the deficit and debt. Of course, there is no health care related answers to these questions.

  7. Dumb Brit says:

    The rest of the free world thinks that any developed country that does not provide health care for all is batshit crazy and immoral. Choose single payer, private insurance topped up by government or any other of the plans that the most well developed (richest) 30 countries have gone for. They all provide 100% cover for their citizens for about half of what the USA pays to cover only the well off or fully employed. I’m completely pro life for anyone who has been born, unlike a lot of the pro-life lobby!

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Part of what’s going on is that we are transitioning from the generation of GOP politicians who gleefully fed lies to FOX et al to the generation that fed on the lies. gVOR’s third law – conservatives come to believe their own bull shit.

  9. Tyrell says:

    Many people have been hit with these huge insurance price increases: $800 to $1400, $1000 to $1800 a month ! I have watched it. I have noticed it: in personal talks with people and in the news.
    Now it appears that a new, better health plan that would help with these costs is still some time away. But some immediate help would be to pass a tax reform bill that lowers income taxes on the middle class working people, and gives a straight dollar for dollar tax deduction for medical expenses instead of that ridiculous percentage of income.
    Any new health plan should be constructed so that it brings costs down.
    One of the local doctors went to cash pay: no insurance, or Medicare. If a patient wants to file the bill with insurance themselves, fine. Visits are around $30. That doctor’s office is full with people waiting out the door. There is a lesson there somewhere.

    See: “Want Affordable Health Insurance ? Scale Back on Health Benefit Mandates” (Forbes, Katherine Restrepo). All these federal and state mandates drive up costs. Many are unneeded.

    “Meet the Family That Just Spent Half Its Annual Income for Obama Care !” (Zero Hedge, Tyler Durden) You have got to be kidding !

  10. JohnMcC says:

    @Dumb Brit: You sent all the crazy Calvinists to the colony. There is a strong thread in U.S. political and social behavior that if you’re broke or sick it is a sign of your worth in God’s eyes. Smart move on your part.

  11. Scott says:


    But some immediate help would be to pass a tax reform bill that lowers income taxes on the middle class working people

    Trump’s tax cut plan doesn’t do that. His healthcare plan greatly increases costs for 50-64 year olds.

  12. David M says:

    @Pete S:

    Would the Republicans who voted for it with the confidence that the Senate would protect them by blocking the bill, have really cast the votes?

    No deal. Don’t forget that the GOP don’t really do policy well, so there’s a small chance they pass something this horrible just to get it out of the way.

  13. Slugger says:

    @Tyrell: There is no question that there are problems, some very serious ones, with the ACA. My response was to the question about the polling to which I gave a from the gut answer because that’s how polling works. The reason for my gut response is that the GOP didn’t try to solve the problems but aimed for a quick political victory.
    Reworking our system is very complex and needs much time and input from a variety of interest groups.

  14. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Majority Of Americans Oppose Republican Health Care Bill According To New Poll

    Hey America!

    * Want LESS coverage for MORE money?
    * Want no guarantees that you will be able to afford it?
    * Want no guarantee for any coverage at all when you get old and inform?
    * Want a Guarantee that you WILL pay more, no matter what?
    * Have an allergy? Preexisting condition !!! Yer outta there !
    * Want to know that while you are getting screwed, the very very rich are actually getting a tax break that cou;ld be as much as you make a year?

    No? Really???

    … wow… never saw THAT coming…

    Who knew heath care could be so hard !

  15. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:


    gives a straight dollar for dollar tax deduction for medical expenses instead of that ridiculous percentage of income.

    Um, you do get that such a proposal would mean that virtually no one under the income levels of Reynolds and Harvard Law 92 would actually be paying any taxes at all, right?

    And would that proposal mean that I could have $4,700 (approximate medical costs out that I paid after insurance) returned out of the $799 net that I actually paid in taxes (after standard deduction) in 2016? Wow! If you can make that work out so that the government doesn’t go broke at the end of the week, I think YOU should run for President in 2020. I’ll even donate (if I can get a dollar for dollar deduction for that, too).

  16. teve tory says:

    I’m completely pro life for anyone who has been born, unlike a lot of the pro-life lobby!

    The Christian Conservatives don’t give a shit about babies. They don’t really care about abortion. They’re just dumb liars.

  17. Tyrell says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: You can’t get back more than you pay in, but a lot of people would see more of a refund. That, combined with a tax cut would help some by offsetting these huge increases. It is a huge burden to go from $800 to $1500 a month or if someone just came in and now is paying $1200 a month.

  18. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    some immediate help would be to pass a tax reform bill that lowers income taxes on the middle class working people

    And yet you keep voting for people who will never do that…

  19. Hal_10000 says:


    I think that’s the criticism to focus on. The pre-existing conditions thing is a bit of red herring. It doesn’t apply to anyone with employer insurance or govt insurance, or anyone with continuous coverage or anyone living in a state that decided to keep the existing system of community rating. What it would allow is some states to use high-risk pools instead. The merits of such pools can be debated (what I’ve read on them is mixed at best) but it’s dwarfed by the cuts to Medicaid and subsidies.

  20. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: Aetna pulls out of Obama Care. This continues the trend and now few companies are left. One main reason is that these companies are losing huge amounts of money because not enough young, healthy people signed up.
    See: “We’re Outta Here ! CNN, and “Aetna Leaves…” Bloomberg
    Without some kind of government intervention soon, the AHA will dissolve.
    “Obama Care is repealing itself”

  21. JKB says:

    I forget who said it first, but

    Health care is 1/6th of the economy, but no one is willing to spend 1/6th of their income on healthcare.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    Hey, gutless wonder: I can’t help but notice how you have not admitted that Trump lied about Comey. You defended him. So, which Trump lie are you backing today?

  23. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: The Aetna CEO is quoted in a story on Vox-dot-com this morning (written by Sarah Kliff – an excellent source BTW) as saying that he expects a future move toward single-payer. He expects to do a good bit of the administration. You should look it up.

    The future is getting closer and moving faster than ever before!

  24. teve tory says:

    But some immediate help would be to pass a tax reform bill that lowers income taxes on the middle class working people

    I worked for the biggest tax prep company in the world. The problem with this idea is that people generally have no idea what they pay in taxes, and think it’s way more than it really is. If you ask people how much their fed taxes are, they’ll guess 25-50%. After the standard deduction, and various credits and whatnot, The average person making 50k a year has an effective tax rate of about 5%. (not counting OASDI/Medi-whatever) You have to get up around 100k/yr before it even gets near 10%. So there’s just not a lot of middle class taxes to cut.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @teve tory:

    people generally have no idea what they pay in taxes, and think it’s way more than it really is

    Right; it’s the converse of health care. Middle-class Americans overestimate how much health insurance they have (and how good it is by international standards), and underestimate how much it costs (because they don’t feel the employer subsidy part viscerally). At the same time, they overestimate how much tax they pay (and where that ranks by international standards), and underestimate what they get for their tax dollars.

    We’ve had a rash of “day without women”, “day without immigrants”, etc. consciousness-raising attempts lately. I want to see “a day without tax-funded services”, to see if people might start to grasp just how much they’re taking for granted. Of course, the lack of potable water might make that a dangerous experiment…

  26. Tyrell says:

    A majority of the people also don’t like the increasing costs – double digit increases.
    One family I know is paying $400 a week !

  27. Tyrell says:

    @Slugger: Keep what is working, what the people like. Fix or modify to correct problems. Add more options.

  28. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: $21k a year is not exactly something I would reasonably believe…