Most Americans Oppose The Senate’s Obamacare Replacement Bill

The GOP's effort to 'repeal and replace' Obamacare faces another roadblock, namely the fact that the American public doesn't support their replacement plan.


One day after Senate Republicans abandoned plans to hold a vote before the July 4th holiday recess, there’s more bad news for them. Three new polls are showing that the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which may qualify as the worst name for a bill in a long time, is deeply unpopular with members of the public, a problem that is likely to make getting the bill through the Senate and House and to the President’s desk could prove to be difficult.

First up, there’s a new poll from NPR/PBS and Marist College showing that just 17% of Americans support the bill:

Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP’s health care bill, and they’re unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Just 17 percent of those surveyed say they approve of the Senate’s health care plan, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Fifty-five percent say they disapprove, while about a quarter said they hadn’t heard enough about the proposal to have an opinion on it.

With mounting defections within the GOP caucus over the bill, leaders decided to delay a vote on the legislation until after Congress returns from next week’s July Fourth recess.

A Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday found that if the bill were enacted, 22 million fewer people would have health insurance over the next decade due, in part, to the bill’s rollback of Medicaid expansion.

With numbers like these, it’s not surprising the Republican leadership in Congress is having a difficult time building consensus,” said Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

While Democratic opposition to the bill, as expected, is high, GOP support for the Senate GOP’s plan is very soft. Twenty-one percent of Republicans oppose the bill and just 35 percent support it. Sixty-eight percent of independents also oppose the proposed legislation.

In fact, while many Americans want changes to the ACA, also known as Obamacare, they want it to be more far-reaching. A 46 percent plurality say they want to see the ACA do more, while just 7 percent want it to do less. Keeping the ACA and having it do less is essentially what GOP congressional plans are doing.

Only 17 percent want the 2010 bill left intact and unchanged, while a quarter of Americans want it repealed completely — including just over half of Republicans.

The results from the latest Morning Consult poll are similar:

Just 38 percent of voters approve of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted before Senate leaders pulled the latest version of their bill in an effort to win over more GOP votes.

That’s fewer than the 45 percent who disapprove of the Republican health care bill. Another 17 percent say they don’t know or have no opinion of the bill.

Six in 10 Republican voters approve of the bill, but a quarter of members of President Donald Trump’s party disapprove. The numbers among Democrats are a mirror image: Twenty-five percent approve, and 64 percent disapprove. But independents tilt against the measure: Only 30 percent approve, and 43 percent disapprove.

The intensity gap is on the side of the bill’s opponents: Thirty-one percent of voters overall “strongly” disapprove of the bill, roughly double the 16 percent who “strongly” approve.

The results are similar to voters’ views of the health care bill that recently passed the House — though the wording of the poll question was changed in this new survey to reflect the Senate’s consideration of its own measure.


Other measures in the poll also point to the bill’s challenges. More voters think the bill will make the nation’s health care system worse (41 percent) than believe will make it better (29 percent). More think it will increase costs for their families (42 percent) than think it will decrease those costs (21 percent). Thirty-eight percent think the bill will hurt the quality of health care, and only 26 percent think quality would be improved.

Though the poll was conducted before the CBO released its projection that 22 million fewer Americans would have health insurance if the Senate bill became law, the report confirms voters’ beliefs: Forty-six percent say they expect the bill would decrease the number of Americans with health insurance, while only 21 percent believe more people would be insured.

As Senate Republicans attempt to recalibrate the bill to rein in moderate and conservative defectors, voters are divided on the scope of the effort. Thirty-eight percent say the legislation goes too far in making changes to the health care system, and another 23 percent say it doesn’t go far enough.

It’s a split that exists within the GOP, as well.

“The tension between moderate Republicans and hard-liners that is playing out in the Senate is mirrored in the polling,” said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult co-founder and chief research officer. “While 31 percent of Republican voters think the Senate bill doesn’t go far enough in making changes to the health care system, 18 percent thinks it goes too far.”

Finally, there’s a similar result from the new Suffolk University poll:

A newly released USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that only 12 percent of Americans support the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said Congress should either work to fix problems with ObamaCare or leave it alone.

The USA Today survey comes after a new NPR poll where just 17 percent of respondents said they supported the GOP legislation.

While Republican voters are not enamored of the Senate plan, there is still strong support in the party for doing away with ObamaCare.

The USA Today survey found eight out of 10 Republicans said they supported ObamaCare repeal, and a third said they would support a repeal plan even if a replacement plan was not ready. Only 2 percent of Democrats shared that sentiment.

Some additional findings from the Suffolk poll show just how difficult a job the Senate has ahead of itself:

Whatever the political disagreements, there is an overwhelming national consensus on what provisions any health care plan should include:

  • Pre-existing conditions: More than three-fourths, 77%, say it is “very important” that the health care system permit people with pre-existing medical conditions to buy health insurance at the same price as others. Just 6% say that protection isn’t important to them. The Senate bill requires insurers to accept those with pre-existing conditions, but it allows states to seek permission to reduce required benefits. Some patients could face dramatically higher costs or lifetime limits for treatments no longer defined as essential.
  • Medicaid expansion: Nearly two-thirds, 63%, say it is “very important” that lower-income people who became eligible for Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act continued to be covered by Medicaid. Just 10% say that isn’t important to them. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Senate plan, which would cut Medicaid spending by $772 billion over the next 10 years, would result in 15 million fewer people being covered.
  • Lower premiums: Close to six in 10, 57%, say it is “very important” that insurance premiums go down in price; 17% say that’s not important. The CBO predicts that premiums would rise for a few years under the Senate plan, then fall by about 30%. But overall health care costs would go up for most people because deductibles would be higher and some states wouldn’t require insurers to provide some benefits that are now mandated.\

The Suffolk poll also finds that public opinion on the Affordable Care Act isn’t nearly as negative as the GOP likes to believe:

Suffolk Poll

The differences between the polls can be attributed primarily to two factors. First of all, the NPR/Marist poll was of American “adults” while the Morning Consult and Suffolk University polls were specifically limited to registered voters. Additionally, the NPR and Morning Consult polls were taken before the CBO released its score of the BCRA, which forecasts that some 22 million Americans would lose coverage under the Senate bill. The Suffolk University poll, meanwhile, was taken over a period of time that included the release of the CBO report and the news that the Senate would not vote on the bill this week as previously planned.

Even taking these differences into account, though, neither number is good for Senate Republicans and both demonstrate just how difficult it is going to be for Republicans to get this bill or anything like it through the House and Senate before the summer recess, which now appears to be the new deadline they’ve set for themselves. With most Americans opposed to the bill, and the momentum now seems to be on the side of the opponents of the effort to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act, it’s like that Senators and members of the House will face significant pressure from home regarding this matter in the coming weeks. For those who are already on record in opposition to the bill, that’s likely to harden their position absent concessions that would likely fundamentally alter the bill itself, thus risking losing support elsewhere. For those who are on the fence, the fact that the bill is so widely unpopular, and even unpopular among Republicans according to some measures, is likely to push at least some of them into the no column. This is important not only in the Senate, where the current head count for the BCRA shows that Republicans do not have the fifty votes they would need to pass the bill with the Vice-President’s tie-breaking vote, but also in the House, where the American Health Care Act passed last month with just two votes to spare and the House Freedom Caucus is already signalling that it would likely oppose the Senate bill unless changes are made.

With respect to the health care bill itself, both The New York Times and The Washington Post have reports out this morning about the behind the scenes events that led to the Senate bill being pulled yesterday afternoon that are worth reading for those who want to keep up to date on where this whole saga is likely to take. Currently, though, the plan appears to be to try to make revisions to the bill by the end of the week with the goal of coming up with something that has a better chance of passing the Senate than the current BCRA. Assuming that can be done, which is a huge assumption at this point, the bill would apparently be made public in time for the Congressional Budget Office to score it during the week that Congress is out of session after the 4th of July and then resume debate when the Senate reconvenes. As I said, the goal now appears to be to get the matter to a vote in the Senate and in the House and to the President’s desk by the beginning of the Congressional break that takes place between the beginning of August to September 4th. As we’ve seen from the troubles that the AHCA had in the House and that the BCRA has had in the Senate, that’s not going to be easy at all.

Update: This post was updated to include the findings of the Suffolk University poll, which was released after the post was initially published.

Update # 2: The numbers just keep getting worse for the GOP. A new Quinnipiac poll released this afternoon shows just 16% of registered voters support the BCRA:

A new Quinnipiac poll finds just 16% of Americans approve of the Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, while 58% disapprove.

If a lawmaker votes for the Republican plan, 46% of voters are less likely to support their reelection, with 17% more likely and 33% who say the health care vote won’t matter in their decision.

Given these polls, I would expect more Republican Senators to come out against the bill.

Update #3 (6/29/2017): A new Fox News poll released last night is a bit better for the GOP, but still pretty bad:

By two-to-one, American voters oppose the Senate health care bill to replace the Affordable Care Act — even as a majority wants to repeal at least some of the existing law.

That’s according to the latest Fox News Poll, conducted Sunday through Tuesday evenings.

Among Republicans, 51 percent favor the Senate bill.  That’s in contrast to 75 percent support for the House bill last month.

Overall, 27 percent of voters favor the Senate proposal, 54 percent oppose it, and 18 percent are unsure.  For comparison, in polling conducted after the House health care bill passed, 40 percent favored it and 54 percent were opposed (May 2017).  That’s the plan President Trump has called “mean.”

It seems likely that voters are increasingly anxious about another significant change to their health insurance,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll along with Democrat Chris Anderson.

“I doubt they know much about the substantive differences between the House and Senate bills.”

Meanwhile, a record number of voters, 52 percent, view the Affordable Care Act positively.  That’s up from 50 percent in March, and 41 percent in August 2015.  Forty-six percent currently view ObamaCare negatively.

Lower-income voters (55 percent), women (58 percent), urban voters (63 percent), non-whites (77 percent), and Democrats (89 percent) give ObamaCare some of its highest favorable ratings.

When asked what should happen to President Obama’s signature health care law, a majority wants to repeal all (28 percent) or parts of the law (33 percent).  Some 25 percent say expand it, while 12 percent would leave it as is.

One-third of those who have a favorable view of ObamaCare want to repeal at least some of the law (33 percent).

Yet even those who want to repeal all or some of the Affordable Care Act are skeptical of the Senate bill:  38 percent favor it, and 38 percent are opposed.

President Trump receives his worst job ratings on health care: 36 percent approve vs. 55 percent disapprove.  That puts him underwater by 19 points.

Taking these five polls together here’s what we see that support for the Senate GOP’s bill is averaging 22% support, while an average of 52.2% oppose it. And that’s after the bill has been out in the public for a week.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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. Sleeping Dog says:

    Only 17% and I believed that at least 27% of Americans would support anything. Of course among that 17% are the wealthy overlords so we can expect gold to be laid at their feet and and Obamacare transformed to the worthless Trumpcare.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I’m afraid none of this matters. As Trevor Noah said last night, whatever Trump sells, his fans buy. And the Repubs aren’t afraid of “everyone”, they are only afraid of billionaire hobbyists like the Koch brothers and the Trump fans. That’s all.

  3. Jen says:

    The piece that I found bizarre was this point made in the NYT piece about the Republican Senators meeting at the White House:

    “A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

    Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.”

    Emphasis added by me. The president has no clue what the bill actually does.

  4. Ben Wolf says:

    If the bill did anything at all to control costs I could see a residue of justification for it, but all it does is shift more costs onto the non-wealthy to cut Paris Hilton’s taxes.

    This is usually how it goes down with the Republicans. They have a narrow window to do what they want and overreach, provoking a backlash that derails their agenda. Electorally brilliant but ideologically passe, the party is running on intellectual fumes from failed 1980s movement conservatism.

    Health Care: cut spending, taxes and deregulate

    Financial Reform: cut spending, taxes and deregulate

    Poisoned Wated: cut spending, taxes and deregulate

    Foreign Policy: limitless military spending and “bring ’em on” showboating

  5. Jake says:
  6. FYI, I just updated the post to add the results of a just-released Suffolk University poll that covered the period after the CBO report was released. It’s even worse news for the GOP.

  7. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    O’Keefe? Seriously?
    If that’s your source of information it is no wonder you are chronically mis-informed.

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jen:..The president has no clue! what the bill actually does.


  9. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Most Americans oppose this bill because they don’t know that:

    “I am going to take care of everybody … Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.”

    or that it includes:

    “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

    or that:

    “We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.”


    “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through.”

    or that everyone is going to get a unicorn.

  10. KM says:

    Of course he didn’t see it as a tax break, for him it’s peanuts compared to the upcoming fleece. As far as he’s concerned, the senator might as well have been complaining about the massive transfer of quarters to the wealthy since he’s thinking in terms of benjamins.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Supposedly the rush is on to get another Healthcare bill out there by this Friday.

    We’ll see.

  12. Yank says:

    @Ben Wolf: Yup, Krugman has been pointing out the GOP being intellectually bankrupt for years now. You are now seeing some establishment conservatives whine about this and blame Trump, but the truth is this started way before Trump came on to the scene.

    The modern GOP is basically built on grifters and bigots. This coalition works well as an opposition, but totally inept when it comes to governance.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    The Senate bill requires insurers to accept those with pre-existing conditions, but it allows states to seek permission to reduce required benefits.

    Read more:

    And for the record, those reductions in benefits could conceivably be: you can buy this one insurance policy, but it doesn’t cover cancer, your pre-existing condition. It has astronomical out of pocket expenses and we will argue that everything you have, from migraine to hemorrhoid, is a result of your pre-existing cancer. But we will take your $3200/ month.

    And the insurance companies would be justified in this! Unlike Obamacare, there is litttle incentive for anyone to get insurance before they are sick.

  14. James Pearce says:

    Americans broadly disapprove of the Senate GOP’s health care bill, and they’re unhappy with how Republicans are handling the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act

    This means, what exactly? They pass it on a party line vote by Friday?

  15. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist: Oh, that’s just silly. Really, after everything else, they think they can have an agreement by Friday?

    These problems that they are having are of their own making. By insisting they do this through reconciliation, they are limited as to what parts of Obamacare they can touch, and it hamstrings them in that it limits what they can propose to change. It’s a tax cut bill, and no matter what else they try and do, that it will remain.

    They can’t really “fix” or “repeal and replace” Obamacare through the reconciliation process. Yet that’s what they’ve promised they would do. Why did they think this would work?

  16. Lizette Mullen says:

    Correct, but McConnell slipped in an amendment that says if you are UN-insured and then apply for insurance. you must wait 6 months before benefits kick in. How do ya like that crap?


  17. CSK says:

    Well, Trump has just promised reporters that: “Healthcare is working along very well…we’re gonna have a big surprise. We have a great healthcare package.”

    When a reporter asked what that meant, Trump replied: “We’re going to have a great surprise.”

  18. Lizette Mullen says:

    This bill can only be supported by soul-less, evil men/women. Who else could possibly be comfortable with causing such enormous human suffering?

  19. Jen says:


    “We’re going to have a great surprise.”

    Oh, for Pete’s sake, more of the reality show cr@p of suggesting “tune in tomorrow, and see!” This either is another figment of his imagination or McConnell is planning some procedural shenanigans. Neither of which is comforting in the least.

  20. Lizette Mullen says:

    Across the country this is going to be catastrophic to nearly EVERY person of modest means (and below) including the elderly, children, pregnant Mothers, new born babies, those with psychiatric problems and also people with physical disabilities.

  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    “We’re going to have a great surprise.”

    Surprise, 21 million of you just lost insurance.
    Surprise, your premiums are going up if you want the same coverage you currently have.
    Surprise, your deductibles are going up.
    Surprise, if you are elderly you are going to pay a shitload more for coverage.
    Surprise, if you have pre-existing conditions, and you are not incredibly wealthy, then you are fvcked.

  22. Joe says:


    When a reporter asked what that meant, Trump replied: “We’re going to have a great surprise.”

    Reporter response: “Is this going to be another great surprise like ‘no tapes'”?

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Lizette Mullen:

    Correct, but McConnell slipped in an amendment that says if you are UN-insured and then apply for insurance. you must wait 6 months before benefits kick in

    Read more:

    If I read this correctly, it is de facto the same as Obama care from the insurers point of view. In Obamacare, you could only sign up during the open enrollment process, which occurred once a year. If you didn’t have insurance and got cancer after the open enrollment period you couldn’t sign up until the next one rolled around. On average that (roughly) works out to six months of non-coverage.

    So I don’t really see this rule as any more negative than the O-Care rule. The big difference is that once you got insured under O-Care, you were really insured. In the Republican plan you get some phony baloney pretend insurance that you don’t realize is worthless until you get cancer.

    And again, I can’t fault the insurance companies for offering the phony baloney insurance. Without the individual mandate they would go broke if they offered actual useful insurance to the individual market.

  24. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: @Joe:

    This is the kind of bullsh!t he spouts when he has no idea what he’s saying, which is mostly. Whatever is in that bill, do you think he’s capable of reading it and assimilating it? Of course he isn’t. He wouldn’t know a healthcare bill from a dollar bill.

    Early tomorrow morning he’ll be Tweeting that it’s a terrible bill. Then around lunchtime he’ll be saying it’s the best bill.

  25. Jen says:

    @CSK: Yeah, but that in combination with the news that McConnell is trying to resuscitate the CPR practice dummy that is this bill makes me think something is going on. Dropping something on Friday before a long holiday weekend when people aren’t paying attention…this whole thing smells like five-day-old fish.

  26. CSK says:


    Whatever it is they’re planning, I guarantee you that Trump has absolutely no idea what it is, and no interest in nor ability to find out.

  27. Tyrell says:

    Another day, another insurance company leaves the Affordable Health care. This time it is Anthema
    If this keeps up the only companies left will be in the junk mail fillers.

  28. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: Is this really any more awful than what will happen if the Republicans get their abortion of a heath care plan through?

    In the ACA case, we have health insurance companies vamoosing because they can’t charge enough to keep going. In the Trumpcare case, we’ll have the closing of hospitals and nursing homes in rural areas, especially after the Baby Boomers really start to go over the cliff and states have to deal with an increasing population of people (often suffering dementia) into the nursing homes….which neither the state nor the families can pay for.

    Damned if I know what the final result will be. If the tax-cutters continue to get their way, I suspect we’re going to be seeing a BIG push for the legalization of euthanasia. Oh, and the demise of NICUs–states won’t be able to afford them any more outside the large cities.

  29. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Are you sure that the unicorns are for everybody? A little earlier on another post someone (you?) said that only Trump supporters would be getting the unicorns. That was a bummer; I was soooooo sad :-(. I really want a unicorn.

  30. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: You were going to report back to us on whether the new bill is good or not because you don’t think the CBO can do math–or something like that. I expected a better quality report than “yeah, but Obamacare…”

  31. An Interested Party says:

    Most Americans Oppose The Senate’s Obamacare Replacement Bill

    I’m sure most Americans also oppose swallowing arsenic, cutting off each of their fingers and toes, and/or moving to Chernobyl, and yet, a sizeable portion of them vote for these unscrupulous assholes, who would probably throw scores of their fellow citizens into an active volcano if that would guarantee tax cuts for rich people…

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: There were/are exceptions in the ACA exchanges for someone who has lost a job (which had provided insurance) or had a change in status (marriage, child born).

  33. teve tory says:

    They’re not talking much about this bill because there’s no way to defend it. If you’d vote to kick 25 million poor and middle-class people off their health care to give a minor tax break to Warren Buffett and David Koch, you’re just a shitty human being.