Poll: Most want ‘Oba­macare’

Stop try­ing to scut­tle health care law, Amer­i­cans tell Pres­i­dent Trump

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALAN FRAM

WASHINGTON — Mes­sage to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans: Stop try­ing to scut­tle the Obama health care law, and start try­ing to make it more ef­fec­tive.

That’s the re­sound­ing word from a na­tional poll re­leased Fri­day by the non­par­ti­san Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion. The sur­vey was taken fol­low­ing last month’s Se­nate de­rail­ment of the GOP drive to sup­plant much of pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s statute with a di­min­ished fed­eral role in health care.

Around 4 in 5 want the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to take ac­tions that help Obama’s law func­tion prop­erly, rather than try­ing to un­der­mine it. Trump has sug­gested steps like halt­ing sub­si­dies to in­sur­ers who re­duce out-of-pock­ets health costs for mil­lions of con­sumers. His ad­min­is­tra­tion has dis­cussed other moves like curb­ing outreach pro­grams that per­suade peo­ple to buy cov­er­age and not en­forc­ing the tax penalty the statute im­poses on those who re­main unin­sured.

Just 3 in 10 want Trump and Repub­li­cans to con­tinue their drive to re­peal and re­place the statute. Most pre­fer in­stead a move to shore up the law’s mar­ket­places, which are see­ing ris­ing pre­mi­ums and, in some ar­eas, few in­sur­ers will­ing to sell poli­cies.

Fly­ing in the face of that, hard­line con­ser­va­tives launched an up­hill bid Fri­day to force a fresh House vote to re­voke Obama’s law with­out an im­me­di­ate re­place­ment. The House Free­dom Cau­cus filed a pe­ti­tion to force a vote if it is signed by 218 law­mak­ers, which seems un­likely be­cause of GOP di­vi­sions and Demo­cratic op­po­si­tion.

Omi­nously for the GOP, 6 in 10 say Trump and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans are re­spon­si­ble for any up­com­ing health-care prob­lems since they con­trol gov­ern­ment. That could be a bad sign for Repub­li­cans as they pre­pare to de­fend their House and Se­nate ma­jori­ties in the 2018 elec­tions.

And by nearly 2-to-1, most say it’s good that the Se­nate re­jected the GOP re­peal-and-re­place bill last month.

Trump has been pub­licly brow­beat­ing Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell to con­tinue try­ing to pass leg­is­la­tion tear­ing down Obama’s 2010 over­haul. Af­ter us­ing Twit­ter to blame McCon­nell for last month’s Se­nate fail­ure de­spite years of GOP vows to re­peal it, Trump has sug­gested Thurs­day that McCon­nell should per­haps step aside.

On three at­tempts, McCon­nell fell short of the 50 votes he needed to pass leg­is­la­tion scrap­ping Obama’s law. With a 52-48 GOP ma­jor­ity and Vice-Pres­i­dent Mike Pence avail­able to cast a tiebreak­ing vote, McCon­nell has said he’s mov­ing onto other mat­ters un­less “peo­ple can show me 50 votes for any­thing that would make progress.”

J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Peo­ple want U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, right, to try mak­ing the Oba­macare more ef­fec­tive, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional poll re­leased Fri­day.

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