The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new poll showing that Americans haven’t exactly gotten more enthused with the idea of getting rid of Obamacare since Trump’s election. From NPR:
One-fourth, or 26 percent, of Americans favor a full repeal of the health care law, while 17 percent say scale it back, according to the Kaiser poll. On the other hand, 30 percent favor expanding the law and another 19 percent want lawmakers to move forward with the law as it is.
The poll was conducted one week after the 2016 presidential election. In its aftermath, President-elect Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers have signaled their intention to follow through on their campaign promise to repeal President Obama’s landmark health care legislation. Republican lawmakers have voted to repeal Obamacare dozens of times.
The poll also shows that Republicans have softened on the idea of repealing the law. In October, 69 percent of Republicans said they wanted to eliminate the law entirely. Now that their guy has been elected and is ready to roll on the repeal, only 52 percent do. “Similarly, in October,” NPR’s Richard Gonzales writes, “just 11 percent of Republicans said they wanted the law scaled back but not eliminated. In November, that percentage increased to 24 percent.” Scaling the law back would mean keeping its most popular features, like allowing young people to be on their parents’ plans until they’re 26, which is supported by a full 85 percent of Americans.
The poll additionally shows that 77 percent of Americans who favor repealing the law would continue to do so even if it meant that 20 million Americans who had gained coverage through Obamacare would lose their health insurance. Even so, a plurality of them—42 percent—believe that the GOP should figure out a replacement plan before repealing. As Politico wrote Thursday, Republicans on the Hill plan on passing a repeal early next year that won’t go into effect for as many as three years—giving them time, in theory, to come up with a passable replacement. This, in effect, would set up an “Obamacare cliff”:
They’re crossing their fingers that the delay will help them get their own house in order, as well as pressure a handful of Senate Democrats—who would likely be needed to pass replacement legislation—to come onboard before the clock runs out and 20 million Americans lose their health insurance. The idea is to satisfy conservative critics who want President Barack Obama’s signature initiative gone now, but reassure Americans that Republicans won’t upend the entire health care system without a viable alternative that preserves the law’s popular provisions.
It’s unclear, though, whether Americans will be “reassured” by a process that guarantees another round of political brinkmanship over a fairly popular law that provides health care to tens of millions. We’ll soon find out.