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Nearly Two-Thirds Say Obamacare Replacement Must Happen With Repeal

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Nearly two-thirds of registered voters say Congress should not repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan, a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll finds.

That includes 61 percent of independent voters and 48 percent of Republicans who said there should be a “clear alternative announced” before repealing the 2010 health care law. While 61 percent of all registered voters said that, 28 percent said Congress should repeal the law immediately “even if there is no current plan” to replace, and another 11 percent said they didn’t know.

The roughly a quarter of registered voters who believe there’s time for lawmakers to draft an alternative plan agree with the route GOP leaders in Congress are taking. The Senate is set to vote this week on a budget resolution that includes reconciliation instructions for the relevant committees to begin drafting reconciliation bills to repeal Obamacare. That will allow the Senate to repeal the law with a simple majority of 51 votes.

But about half the party’s base and even more voters who identify as independents and Democrats say they are on the same page as a growing number of lawmakers who say they’re uneasy about repealing the law without a replacement. At least half a dozen Republican senators have expressed concerns about repealing the law without having a replacement plan.

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When the option of keeping or expanding the law was included, Republicans were somewhat more likely to say the law should be repealed with a transition period to replace the law. When asked about the ACA and what people thought was the best step forward, 35 percent of voters identifying as Republican said it should be repealed with a plan to replace it, while 52 percent said it should be repealed with a transition period to create a replacement plan.

Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Democrats said the law should be repealed with a plan to replace it, while 32 percent said the ACA should be expanded. Nineteen percent of voters identifying as Democrats said it should be repealed with a transition period to create a new plan and 15 percent said it should be left as-is.

Repealing the law was the top priority those surveyed picked for President-elect Donald Trump and the new Congress, with 26 percent saying it should be their first focus. Twenty-three percent said improving job creation should be the top priority.

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These results differed from voters “top issue.” Thirty-two percent of registered voters said economic issues is the top issue they consider when casting a vote, while 15 percent answered health care issues.

The survey may explain why voters of all stripes want to repeal the law: Cost. More than half of registered voters say that the ACA has made health care more expensive.

Among those asked, 34 percent said the law has made health “much more expensive” for them, while 24 percent said the law has made health care “somewhat more expensive” for them.

Republicans were more likely to say their health care costs had shot up under the law than Democrats. Of Republican voters, 52 percent said their costs were much more expensive and 25 percent said their costs were somewhat more expensive, while 15 percent of Democrats said their costs were much more expensive and 24 percent said their costs were somewhat more expensive.

When asked about the fates of individual provisions within the law, respondents thought many of the provisions asked about should be left as is. Generally, people were more supportive of leaving individual parts of the law alone than they were repealing them.

When it comes to the law’s provision prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to customers with pre-existing conditions, 66 percent of voters said it should be left as is, while 19 percent said it should be repealed. A majority (53 percent) of those asked said a provision requiring insurers to cover the costs of prescription birth control should be left alone, while 30 percent said it should be repealed.