The Kaiser Family Foundation has issued the results of a new poll concerning repeal of Obamacare. Anyone with a pulse knows that repeal has been made a rallying cry for Republicans in Congress, in fact their centerpiece in the ideological attack on the Obama administration. But it appears that Republican ideology has gotten out ahead of the desires of voters, who are not as much interested in ideology as they are in understandable, affordable and stable healthcare.
When asked about a series of health care priorities for President-elect Trump and the next Congress to act on, repealing the ACA falls behind other health care priorities. Two-thirds of the public (67 percent) say lowering the amount individuals pay for health care should be a “top priority” for President-elect Trump and the next Congress. This is followed by six in ten (61 percent) who say lowering the cost of prescription drugs should be a “top priority,” and nearly half (45 percent) who say dealing with the prescription pain killer addiction epidemic should be a “top priority.”
When given two competing approaches to the future of health care, six in ten Americans (62 percent) prefer “guaranteeing a certain level of health coverage and financial help for seniors and lower-income Americans, even if it means more federal health spending and a larger role for the federal government” while about one-third (31 percent) prefer “limiting federal health spending, decreasing the federal government’s role, and giving state governments and individuals more control over health insurance, even if this means some seniors and lower-income Americans would get less financial help than they do today.” This level of support for federal healthcare spending is the stake in the heart of the conservative ideological vampire.
Overall, 49 percent of the public think the next Congress should vote to repeal the law and 47 percent say they should not vote to repeal it. But of those who want to see Congress vote to repeal the law, a larger share say they want lawmakers to wait to vote on repeal until the details of a replacement plan have been announced (28 percent) than say Congress should vote to repeal the law immediately and work out the details of a replacement plan later (20 percent).
In its reporting on the KFF poll, the Washington Post pointed out that the same repeal question has been asked 16 times in the last two years and the most recent poll results show the lowest support for immediate repeal without a replacement — a drop of 6% since October. The biggest part of this drop is among Republicans whose support for immediate repeal without replacement has dropped 17%.
In 2016 Rep. Alex Mooney, the Panhandle’s Congressional representative, voted to repeal Obamacare through budget reconciliation. That is once again the method favored by Congressional Republicans. Attention Rep. Mooney! Only 20% of all respondents in the KFF poll want you to repeal Obamacare without a replacement. Here’s hoping you can think for yourself.
Sen. Joe Manchin can spot a bad deal for West Virginia when he sees one. Manchin told reporters on January 4, 2017 that he would not vote to repeal the ACA without a replacement on the table. Manchin’s office said that if the law is repealed, 172,000 West Virginians would lose health insurance coverage and the state would lose $840 million in federal funds to provide health care for low-income families.
“Most of the people [in West Virginia] that have benefited from this one way or another voted for Trump,” Manchin said. “They don’t know what they have or how they got it. I will tell you this: You repeal it and take it away, they will know who took it away.”
Progressives may be conflicted. Sen. Charles Schumer urges Democrats not help the Republicans in Congress come up with a prompt replacement if they vote to repeal immediately through budget reconciliation. His view is let the Republicans suffer the wrath of the voters for creating the unnecessary healthcare disaster that Sen. Manchin predicts. That is certainly attractive in a partisan way, but it seems like more one-upmanship and political posturing. The real suffering from this approach will be by the people who are back to having no healthcare.