Letting Obamacare implode might be Trump's least popular position yet

Frederick Owens
August 12, 2017

The Democrats, who have said that Obamacare should stay in place, with some tweaks to the marketplace, have the public on their side.

President Trump has been hammering Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the failure by Senate Republicans to pass an ObamaCare repeal plan, and he's urged the Senate to take back up repeal-and-replace legislation before moving on to other big legislation.

This finding and others from the poll suggest that most of the public is ready for Washington to move beyond the repeal-and-replace debate and instead focus on fixing shortcomings in the Affordable Care Act.

Nearly 6 in 10 people think the Republicans should work with Democrats to improve the health law. Most Democrats (70%) and independents (59%) favor the bi-partisan approach, though almost half of Republicans (49%) and Trump supporters (46%) want Republicans to continue pursuing their own plan to repeal and replace the law. Most (63%) of the public oppose such negotiating tactics that could disrupt insurance markets and cause people to lose health coverage. For a White House that often seems more concerned with cementing support from Trump's loyalists than embracing the political center, that might help explain the president's persistence on the issue. Since insurers are legally required to reduce those costs, they say blocking the subsidies would force them to increase premiums for millions who buy private insurance, including those whose expenses aren't being reduced.

The poll comes after the failure of the Senate GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill. After repeal of the health care law failed in Congress, Trump said, "We'll let Obamacare fail" and "We're not going to own it".

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More Americans say it is more important for President Trump and Republicans to now make the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces work better (69%) than to continue plans to repeal and replace the law (29%).

The poll also found that the majority of the public continues to view ObamaCare favorably.

In fact, says the report, the majority of Americans think that health insurance companies charging higher premiums in certain marketplaces will have a negative impact on them and their family, while fewer (31 percent) say it will have no impact. Marketplace coverage affects only those buying individual insurance and not those who get job-based plans or Medicare or Medicaid. The margin of error is 4 percentage points with a 95-percent confidence level.

The poll of 1,211 adults was conducted August 1- 6.

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