Poll finds GOP health plan less fa­vor­able than Oba­macare

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY TOM HOW­ELL JR.

Amer­i­cans con­tinue to view Oba­macare more fa­vor­ably than the Housep­a­ssed plan to re­peal it, ac­cord­ing to a Wed­nes­day poll that finds the pub­lic is in­creas­ingly wary of how the GOP re­place­ment would af­fect them if it were passed by the Se­nate and signed into law.

A ma­jor­ity of those polled by the Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion — 55 per­cent — have an un­fa­vor­able view of the GOP bill, while only 31 per­cent ap­prove of it.

Mean­while, 49 per­cent say they ap­prove of the ex­ist­ing pro­gram un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The Se­nate is hop­ing to kick-start ne­go­ti­a­tions on its own health care bill when law­mak­ers re­turn from the Memo­rial Day re­cess next week.

House law­mak­ers passed their ver­sion May 4, and Pres­i­dent Trump is grow­ing im­pa­tient with Congress’ in­abil­ity to de­liver on his re­peal prom­ises, even sug­gest­ing that Se­nate Repub­li­cans scrap the fil­i­buster to nudge his agenda for­ward.

Yet the GOP is op­er­at­ing un­der fast­track bud­get rules that would al­low them to gut Oba­macare and of­fer sweep­ing re­forms on a ma­jor­ity-line vote, so di­vi­sions within the party are the main im­ped­i­ment for the 52-seat ma­jor­ity.

Sev­eral sen­a­tors from states that vastly ex­panded Med­i­caid un­der Oba­macare want to rein in fed­eral spend­ing on the pro­gram more slowly than the House plan would, while Sen. John Thune of South Dakota is hash­ing out plans to make the GOP plan’s tax cred­its more gen­er­ous for older and needy peo­ple who buy in­sur­ance on their own.

Ac­cord­ing to Kaiser, fewer than one in 10 Amer­i­cans say the Se­nate should pass the House bill in its cur­rent form.

More than half of those polled think the Se­nate should ei­ther not pass the bill (29 per­cent) or make ma­jor changes to it (26 per­cent), while roughly a quar­ter said sen­a­tors should make mi­nor changes.

Oba­macare has polled rather poorly over its seven-year life, yet GOP ef­forts to get rid of it have made Pres­i­dent Obama’s sig­na­ture achieve­ment more pop­u­lar.

In De­cem­ber, or shortly af­ter the elec­tion, less than a third of the pub­lic thought their health care would worsen if Oba­macare went away.

Now, larger shares fear the cost of health care for them­selves or their fam­i­lies (45 per­cent), they’re abil­ity to ac­quire and keep cov­er­age (34 per­cent) and the qual­ity of that cov­er­age (34 per­cent) would get worse un­der the GOP plan to scrap the law.

The Con­gres­sional Bud­get Of­fice’s “score” of the House GOP plan said it would save $119 bil­lion over a decade but re­sult in 23 mil­lion fewer peo­ple hold­ing cov­er­age.

Armed with that in­for­ma­tion, 39 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers told the Morn­ing Con­sult/Politico poll they would be more likely to op­pose the bill, while 20 per­cent said it made them more likely to back it.

Repub­li­cans say the sta­tus quo is un­ac­cept­able, how­ever, so they have no choice but to usher in mar­ket-ori­ented re­forms.

Ma­jor play­ers in the mar­ket­place have with­drawn from the Oba­macare mar­ket­place, cit­ing a sicker-than-ex­pected pool of cus­tomers, though some in­sur­ers say they’re hik­ing rates due to un­cer­tainty ush­ered in by Mr. Trump.

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