Only one in five Americans agrees with the current Republican plan of repealing Obamacare without the details of a replacement being worked about, a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found.
The survey found that three-fourths of those polled either oppose repealing the law (47 percent), or want to wait to repeal it until details of the replacement law are firmed up (28 percent).
Just one in five Americans support immediately repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. Another 5 percent didn’t have an opinion or declined to answer.
Even Republicans were divided over whether to repeal the law now or later. Thirty-eight percent of them said they wanted to repeal it now, while 42 percent of Republicans said they preferred to delay the repeal until it’s clear what will replace it.
The results of the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Health Care Priorities for 2017 surprised Shana Charles, an assistant professor of health sciences at Cal State Fullerton.
“The media attention right now makes a connection that because this is what the Republicans want to do, therefore the people who voted for the Republican ticket must also want that as well,” she said, “and this data shows that’s not the case.’’
Charles noted that the 20 percent who want to immediately repeal the law, then work out the details of a replacement, “is certainly much smaller than the percent of the electorate who voted for Donald Trump.’’
Unlike a postelection poll released Dec. 1 by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation — which showed most Americans want to keep the health care law rather than see it killed or dialed back — the new survey is more closely timed to the debate Republicans began this week about how to dismantle the law.
Upending the law, commonly called “Obamacare,’’ was among Trump’s key campaign promises. He vowed to replace it with “something terrific.’’
Twenty million Americans have gained health insurance through the law, many of them through a provision that expanded Medicaid, the nation’s health care program for the poor.
Republicans, who control both the Senate and the House of Representatives, have voted more than 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law by Obama in 2010.
At Stanford’s Center for Health Policy, health care economist Laurence Baker said the new poll results “show me that the challenges of people getting access to health insurance are real,’’ as are the problems that could result if the Republicans don’t come up with a clear replacement strategy.
The poll also found that six in 10 Americans 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.
But three in 10 Americans prefer the opposite: limiting federal health spending, decreasing the federal government’s role, and giving state governments and individuals more control over health insurance — even if it means some seniors and lower-income Americans would get less financial help than they do today.
The survey shows the majority of Democrats (79 percent) and independents (65 percent) prefer the first approach of guaranteeing coverage, while 53 percent of Republicans prefer the limited government approach GOP leaders have coalesced around.
Dan Schnur, a former Republican consultant who teaches political communications at the University of Southern California, said the poll results “may explain why the Republicans seem to be heading toward a delayed repeal.’’
The quicker the GOP repeals the law, he said, the happier they make their base, but the Republicans also have to persuade the political center.
“Voting right away on the repeal satisfies their most loyal supporters, but now they have to replace it with something else — or they will lose the rest of the electorate,’’ Schnur said.
The poll, conducted from Dec. 13 to Dec. 19, surveyed 1,204 adults by phone. The maximum margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.