Americans’ attitudes toward Obamacare remain split after the election, according to a tracking poll released Thursday that finds some Republicans are increasingly leery about following through on the party’s plan for outright repeal of the 2010 law.
The Kaiser Family Foundation said 45 percent of Americans have a negative view of the Affordable Care Act and 43 percent hold a favorable one, and that only a quarter of them want President-elect Donald Trump and the next Congress to repeal the entire law.
Majorities from both parties say they favor some of the law’s key provisions — allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26, axing out-of-pocket costs for preventive health services, offering financial assistance to low and moderate-income Americans without job-based insurance, allowing states to expand their Medicaid programs for the poor and barring insurers from turning away sick customers.
Yet only about a third — 35 percent — support the individual mandate requiring people to hold insurance or pay a tax.
Mr. Trump and Republicans who control the House and Senate are eyeing a repeal and replace strategy that would scrap government mandates and then rely on “market-oriented” reforms to retain some of the law’s popular provisions, such as making sure customers with preexisting conditions can get covered.
They plan to use a fast-track budget maneuver to gut the law as quickly as they can, though say it might take years to pass an alternative plan. They will likely need Democratic votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster of any replacement, cuing up a contentious political battle.
The Kaiser poll noted an uptick in the share of Americans who think Congress should pare back the law and marked decrease in those who say lawmakers should scrap the whole thing.
The change is driven by Republicans, whose party will control all levers of government next year and would shoulder responsibility for major moves on health care.
More than half of Republicans say Obamacare should be repealed, down from 69 percent in Kaiser’s October tracking poll before the election, while 24 percent say they want to scale the law back, up from 11 percent in the prior month.
Among the quarter of Americans who seek repeal, roughly two thirds want Republicans to replace it with something else, with 42 percent wanting lawmakers to wait to repeal it until Congress hammers out a replacement, and 21 percent wanting lawmakers to repeal it immediately and devise a replacement later.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy this week signaled the GOP could take the latter route, though he said the GOP has a head start with its “Better Way” outline for a replacement and that Democrats will be forced to the negotiating table if they’re given a deadline to transition from Obamacare to a new system.
Americans are roughly split on whether repeal would make their health costs worse (30 percent) or better (27 percent), while four in 10 say costs would remain the same.
More than half of Trump supporters, however, think repeal would help them personally.